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Past Tense

Part 1 Project 2015
Waad Darzi
London South Bank University, UK
The first ever 1000 aircraft raid late in May 1942 prefigured total devastation in central Köln. Alongside the city’s seat of government, the Rathaus, bombardment exposed complex, interwoven archaeology of great significance; precipitating contentious debate about preservation and redevelopment that sterilised the site for 70 years.
This straddles one wing of the Praetorium (Governor’s Residence) that demarked the frontier of the Roman Empire at the Rhein which subsequently became enmeshed with sacred structures erected by the Jewish community during the Carolingian period.
This proposition aims not simply to curate the consensus that eventually emerged. It provides a public forum for settling comparable issues yet to arise in the city - where empty building shells still betray evidence of underlying sensitivities concerning reinstatement.
The structure – a raised laminated timber matrix – embodies the cartesian underpinning characteristic of archaeological investigation while simultaneously defining the scope of alternative archaeologies previously possible on this site. Set to the Roman founders’ grid but chamfered away to trace inflections to street patterns made by later inhabitants, it is hollowed out to illustrate major internal volumes of key former buildings. The result echoes the unusual urban morphology of colonnaded, perforate blocks adopted for reconstructing its surroundings.

Waad Darzi


Mr Seamus Ward
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