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Perforations of Transparency

Part 2 Project 2005
Laurie Marlow
Tord Mardoff Nielsen
University of Brighton | UK
A ‘machine’, a process rather than an object, was conceived and used to generate multiple surfaces. The initial step was selecting and making a scaled drawing of a found object, a loom. Combined with research into how other disciplines use graphical methods to display data, composite drawings were formulated and analyzed through specific strategic processes. This spawned the ‘surface’ drawings.

Mis-readings of H.O.K’s proposal for the Royal London Hospital were developed within the language articulated by surface drawings. This allowed a new architecture to emerge, one based on qualities of transparency and visual distortion contained within image.

Laurie Marlow
Tord Mardoff Nielsen

This proposal for the controversial Royal London Hospital project is uncommonly clear-cut, but the poignancy of its confrontation with architecture’s increasingly ephemeral surface and its revelation of the flagrant passivity of PFI projects is timely. Even if the Government won’t sanction a project resonant of post-war Beirut it is incontrovertible that by isolating the generic facade from HOK’s proposal Marlow’s urbanite comes face-to-face with architecture’s potentially brutal Piranesian materiality, re-awakening architecture’s daunting space-making capacity. Marlow erases architecture’s late Modern formalism with a Mannerist-like dismantling of HOK’s project. The negative rampart mediating between the city and patient demands to know whether the NHS is a fortress or an accessible institution as we are given to believe.


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