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Civic Architecture - Double Exposure

Part 1 Project 2014
Thomas Smith
Nottingham Trent University | UK
The theme of the project was civic architecture. It proposes an exhibition of film reels for Nottingham City Centre.

“Sometimes different cities follow one another on the same site and under the same name, born and dying without knowing one another, without communication among themselves.” - [I.Calvino, 1978]

Civic buildings can be understood as symbolic displays of our political and social ambitions. As well this historically they create spaces where an interaction between the institutions and the inhabitants of a city, is made possible. It can be argued over time interaction with institutions has been replaced with interaction with commerce.

Research uncovered the inhabitants of Nottingham have little exposure to the depth of the city and its roots. It can be argued the reason for this is partially because of a disconnected societal mindset where commercialism is perceived by Nottingham City Council as a way to renew parts of the city centre. This has resulted in areas of the city becoming exclusive and largely unused. We can argue this is the case with the given site ‘Chapel Bar’.

Coincident with this Nottingham has an uncelebrated and largely undiscovered collection of local historic, institutional, industrial and political film reels. Currently the main library is locked away in Nottingham’s record office on the ‘Castle Wharf Estate’ as well as this there is an ever-growing neglected collection of Film being donated to Nottingham's membership only Bromley House Library.

The Exhibition aims to bring together these collections. Acting as a continuum of culture, revealing the ever-changing identity of Nottingham. Interest was taken in ‘double exposure’ which was referred back to throughout the project, metaphorically and as a means of critique. Programmatically the exhibition can be understood as a place of double exposure where visitors are exposed to the duality of the city, having the chance to experience short-lived memories through familiar places.

The Building is not a resolution but an ongoing argument and analysis. A contradiction. A double exposure is not something resolved but in the act of being argued.

Thomas Smith


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