‘From April next year we will start measuring our progress as a country not just by how our economy is growing, but by how our lives are improving, not just by our standard of living, but by our quality of life,’
(stated UK prime minister David Cameron on 25 November 2010)
For his final Master project, A Happy Thamesmeadium at the Royal College of Arts, Craig Allen starts his architectural narrative by this quote from David Cameron. This notion of happiness is even more evocative in those days of insurrection in England from a part of the population who can even have to luxury to think of such thing as happiness. Craig describes this governmental public policy of happiness in a near future in which it has been implemented in a dangerous mix with private companies such as Coca Cola or Candy&Candy. His project, that he personally defines as a tragicomedy, is a vision of a future in which the res-publica (republic/public affair) has both registered happiness in an administrative regulation and instructions (see the manual above), and given up on the social housing construction to offer it to private interests.
Here is Craig’s introduction text:
We continue our exploratory series of UK schools’ best projects for 2009-10 with a project entitled Port of London Authority (The rise and fall of the icon)
and designed by James Wignall
in the Royal College of Arts
In this project, he introduces a near future City of London flooded by the effects of Global Warming, and thus the appropriation of this new surface embodied by water. In this regard, this project questions the modernist paradigm of the skyscraper (see the gorgeous photomontage of the Seagram Building falling down below) by re-exploring the notion of horizontality in architecture. What used to be the tallest buildings (especially in most vision of the future) become inhabited bridges above the river (sea) Thames. Continue reading
“Ornament is a crime
” wrote Adolph Loos in 1908. This sentence was opening one century of disdain for architecture’s aesthetic developed by modernism. A hundred years later, a School claims for an embrace of ornament via computation. This approach of architecture is highly debatable since it seems to fully accept the role of the architect as only a embroiderer who would be able to express his creativity in non-essential elements (just like the French law which plans that 1% of every public building’s budget should be dedicated to a piece of art).
However, some people succeeds to design ornaments as fully part of the narration expressed by a project. Computation allows them then to populate a structure with an expressive ornamentation that register the resulting architecture in what we could call neo-baroque. Architecture becomes thus a materialized surrounding narration and computer seems essential to have a global and local control of the project (capitalism not allowing the construction to take as much time as it used to do in the 17th century during the baroque era).
Tobias Klein, former student at the Bartlett and now teaching at the Royal College of Arts, the Architectural Association and one of the founders of an experimental design group called horhizon, is one of this rare people. His two projects, Synthetic Syncretism and Contour Embodiment and the project developed by one of his student, Jordan Hodgson at the RCA are examples of fascinating narrations embodied by their neo-baroque architecture.
is a project designed by Claire Jamieson
for her final year of Master in the Royal College of Arts
(London) under the tutorship of Nicola Koller and Gerrard O’Carroll. This project questions a lot of interesting issues for architecture in a fictitious dramatization of the construction of a kind of mausoleum of nuclear waste in the center of St James Park in London.
First of all, as the title may suggest, it proposes to challenge the notion of love as an non temporal value expressed and hosted by architecture. Then it proposes to re-introduce the idea of historizing architecture. Although, instead of conceiving a time-proof building, Claire includes her building in a logic of erosion and use the life time of materials in order to make the project evolving through time by its decrepitude. Eventually Eternally Yours is a proposition to negotiate with fear (since nuclear waste is concerned) and the vertigo of a scale of time tremendously bigger than Human life (10000 years when the language itself becomes unintelligible after only a thousand years). This last point explains the provocative location of the building, several meters away from Buckingham Palace, the English Monarchy fiefdom.
Royal College of Arts
location: Kensington Gore, London (United Kingdom)