“It was a strange collection …but so much larger and so much more varied that I think I never had more pleasure than in sorting them. English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Georges, and Louises, … strange Oriental pieces stamped with what looked like wisps of string or bits of spider’s web, round pieces and square pieces, and pieces bored through the middle, as if to wear them round your neck …they were like autumn leaves, so that my back ached with stooping and my fingers with sorting them out”
“Treasure Island” Robert Louis Stevenson
Project Brief: Unit G_HfH_Project1_HomeComfort
The arrival, departure, exchange and migration of ideas, people and goods, welcome and otherwise, shape every aspect of our world, language, music, literature, food, traditions and history. A city’s fabric embodies this flux through its organisation, construction and atmosphere, reflecting skills, religions, fashion language, opportunity and necessity. And as each new migrant community arrives it imports a memory of home, and exports a received image of the “New World” in goods, produce, buildings, ideas and people; and by the exchange culture is assimilated and transformed.
To discover how architecture might respond to this exchange, and the identity of place, we will start by exploring something familiar, cherished, and personal, which embodies the idea of “home”. Then by unpacking, researching, testing, developing and documenting how the idea of “Home” is invested in the artefact you will have the ingredients to inform a portable, beautifully crafted 1:1 spatial intervention in Wilcox Road, Vauxhall, that is both of “here” and “elsewhere”, forming a new “home” in the public realm.
1. Choose: Choose a highly portable (small), comforting and intriguing personal artefact you might take on a “round the world trip” that best reminds you of “home”
It could be an object, tool, or instrument, it could be a favourite recipe, it could be music, a dance, story or festival
(1st task: Bring your chosen artefact, or an image of it, with you to present (in 30secs) on the evening of the unit walk in London)
2. Research: Define the scale, duration, age, materials, stories, traditions or whatever makes the artefact particular, and why/how it is connected to “home”
Document the artefact through drawings, images, models, movies and experiments in whatever way feels most appropriate
3. Experiment: Explore Vauxhall in search of artefacts, spaces, places, events or people that resonate with the same idea of “home” as those found in your artefact.
Document the found “Vauxhall Equivalents” and their sites through drawings, images, models
4. Propose: In sketch form, propose an intervention for Wilcox Road drawing on your documented idea of “home” and readings of Vauxhall
5. Craft: Make and re-make; draw and re-draw; test and explore your proposals to hone your ideas, working through a range of scales up to 1:1 prototypes and fabrication drawings to make an exquisite final intervention to be presented on site in Wilcox Road.
4. Communicate: Document and communicate your research, design process and final Home:Comfort intervention using any media, material or technique that best communicates your ideas, in the equivalent of 6 x A1 Hybrid sheets + 4 x A1 process/testing sheets, integrating constructed, drawn, rendered, precedent and photographic work
Site: Home:Comfort is a prototypical component free of a specific site, but drawn and tested against your reading of “Home” and Wilcox Road, Vauxhall
Scale: The proposal must be portable, up to furniture-scale (you will need to transport it to site); and must be explored at 1:1
Technology: The Home:Comfort project is a test-bed for design and technology exploration, and for Yr2 students the intervention and documentation will be assessed for the U30020 module, based on the component as reviewed on-site 11th Oct, and the documentation submitted on 18th Oct.
Working: Yr3 students will work independently, Yr2 students in assigned pairs, selected after the artefact presentation on the unit walk. Pairs will produce shared work and proposals, but the final drawings and presentation in the portfolio will be individual, acknowledging the author of each element.
Work quickly, don’t think too much before starting; instead “think through doing” be energetic and explore your ideas through making and drawing. But the final prototype should be finely crafted: the method of fabrication, nature of materials, finishes and connections are another response to the idea of “home” and place
“Argo” by Roland Barthes, essay published in “Roland Barthes on Roland Barthes”
“Restitutions of the Truth in Pointing” by Jacques Derrida, essay published in “In The Art of Art History: A Critical Anthology”
Wk1: Sketch proposal in drawings and models
Wk2: 1st Prototype proposals
Wk3: On-Site Review: Wilcox Road, Vauxhall, Thursday 11th October