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Part 1 Project 1999
Gaspar Libedinsky
Architectural Association London | UK
Concepts from architecture and the performing arts can be transferred from one to the other, and back again. Concrete helps to 'materialize' my intentions of turning the static into dynamic, as a principle of transformation.
'Taking the sidewalk for a walk' is a performance which intends to explore the way in which new social, architectural and urban conditions may be achieved, by reorganizing the existing surface material.
Having been given Whites Row Car Park in the City of London as the site for a housing project, its floor slabs are reorganized by folding them into apartments. Voids connect spaces, walls divide spaces, windows selectively reconnect spaces, whilst also creating furniture.
Potential homeowners buy a strip of slab from the car park and, following the rules, they fold the representative piece of paper they receive into the house of their dreams.
Without knowing the way in which their neighbours were folding their own strip, the adjacent conditions achieved were unpredicted. Neighbours had to face the reality of possibly having glass party walls, and furniture that demanded observing and being observed. Windows and voids were created on all floors allowing light, views, smell and noises to filtrate from one apartment to the other.

Gaspar Libedinsky

'For an artist worthy of the name, a constraint is anything but a vexation or an imposed rhetorical system. It is a support, an aid to invention, an enjoyment of form (and art is a question of form), and a liberation from the tyranny of the message.' From: Oulipo Compendium 1998
A student is someone denied the pleasure of building, trapped in the house of hypothesis. In the absence of real client and budget, other relevant criteria for the production of work are invented. These constraints must be juggled to create work which speculates on universal and topical questions of architecture, whilst satisfying prticular educational requirements.
Above all, the project must excite intellectual development; invoke the joy of experiment, investigation and curiosity.
The housing proposal operates on the premise that enough material exists in the 'host' car park building to be recycled into apartments. The method of concrete cutting and 'folding' results in a tightly controlled re-assemblage of a utilitarian building. Unpretentious yet sophisticated, concrete architecture emerges, making space, light and social relations out of existing banalities.
The project is brilliant because it enjoys constraints, treats them as productive parameters, and reveals the connections between theory and practice. And it's not just fun between consenting architects (e.g. tutor and student), it represents construction as a site of pleasure.

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