27 Mar 2014

SPUD Longlisting + future collaboration

Entering the SPUD competition came about over many'a lunch breaks spent in Subway talking about design and architecture.. for me what has been most reassuring about the whole process is that we actually managed to walk the walk following all the talk.

Architecture in commercial practice is becoming stale, mundane and boring. All this while smaller, design-led, passionate practices develop new business models, new ways of generating work and new ways promoting themselves.. Paul and I sat down with Mark and Ricky of SPUD and got the low-down on how their organisation is growing and gaining momentum everyday, and it was so great to hear them talk so enthusiastically about the industry and the opportunities that are out there if we look hard enough.

The trip came about, as you know, following our design entry for the SPUD competition. Having not made the short-list Mark very kindly passed on some of the judges feedback about our design but we were keen to delve a little deeper! 

Render of the proposed observatory 
The design concept always revolved around this idea of a denial plane, removing views so that they are enhanced when given back... We created this using the vertical posts and through their increased density the consumers sight is removed. The posts eventually merge to create the actual enclosed space. Each post demands space in the landscape encouraging macro observation but the closer they become, the more the visitor views the micro aspects of the site. Once inside the building the visitor experiences a sheltered atmosphere away from the sun, wind and rain and is invited to observe the artist’s products and process.

Inside the intervention a counterpoint to the surrounding landscape is created through removing light from the tower and creating a pinhole camera obscura. This camera obscura projects the light and atmosphere of the artist’s studio above onto a translucent screen below giving a real-time view of the artist at work.

The mirrors work to project a real-time view of the artist at work to visitors

The artist working on the floor above cannot see the people below but can hear visitor’s comments through floor vents. A picnic style work approach is encouraged with a large open space studio floor with outward viewing windows flush to the floor. The artist has the option to use a work table with a horizontal window at eye level and a view of both the sky and topography below using mirrors in the tower.

The 'picnic' style work space for the artist with carefully positioned light interventions
Upon departure from the building the visitor’s eyes takes time adjust from the dark sheltered interior to the bright external exposure. Once in focus the user observes the landscape at a macro level contrasting the internal atmospheres of the building.

I will reveal more on the technical proposals for the project and that invaluable feedback from Mark at SPUD another day, please feel free to leave comments...

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