Ritual & Representation

This studio aims to look for new ways to represent architectural spaces in imagery. Today the image seems to be more about a reality of the visible rather than a reality of the experience. We are concerned more with a world as seen through the cameras lens than through our minds eye. This has consequences on our discourse. The visual attraction of a building has an upfront role while important architectural experiences such as sequence, movement, time and memory are less present. It causes a great disjunct between the experience of the image and that of reality. We should look for ways to incorporate these values back into our imagery hereby gaining a deeper understanding of our buildings.

In search of answers we will look at the medieval. A time before the ration of the renaissance. Medieval imagery has an inherit curiosity. It seems to be all wrong when it comes to building a consistent scene and space, but when remembering the image nothing seems to be missing. You might even have derived more meaning from it than if you where looking at a photograph of the same scene. All the elements in the scene are represented in their purest form. A garden pond is drawn from its top while the fish are drawn from their sides. A piece of cloth folds with shadows in its creases but it’s pattern is laid out perfectly flat. Dimensions of façades scale down while their interiors scale up. Every element of the scene speaks to us in a different way. Yet all these natural contradictions occur in the same scene. The experience of time also becomes a bendable aspect. Events that occur over a life’s span are able to coexist in one single image. The subsequent spaces of a building along with its exterior and surrounding landscape merge into a single coherent scene.

Along with extending the notion of representation we will also extend the notion of use. A ritual can be considered a semantic description of a function. It is a description of the use of a space but also a description of its relation to both the user and the subsequent spaces. In a ritual it is not only important what happens in a space but also the reason why, when and what happens before and after. These extended variables of use should be reflected in the design; gaining a more interwoven logic of the spaces within a setting.

In the preceding history thesis workshop a greater awareness of perspective drawing is introduced. The succeeding design studio is a collective research in where will look for alternatives. We will be extending and rethinking some of the notions that we have taken for granted, rediscovering old techniques as well as generating new approaches.

The design assignment consists of fitting a chapel and a sequence of pavilions into an existing graveyard. The buildings will each accommodate a step of a funeral ritual. The focus will be on the layout of the ensemble and the relation between the pavilions rather than the workings of a single entity.  We will look at the relation of the pavilions to the excising graveyard garden and the relation of the graveyard to the city. The final design will display a harmonious sequence which carries the ritual through a strong and continuous architectural experience.

The role of representation is significant in this studio. Students will have to make an effort to tell a larger story than just the volumetric and material experience of the project. As a basis for interpretation we will look at medieval painting in Europe and Asia where the dogma of the perspective is less present and themes like time and space are more flexible. The final images will be further away from the physical reality but closer to the core idea and the experience of the building.

This designstudio was preceded by a theory course given by Jules Schoonman at the TU Delft (coordinator: Susanne Pietsch) and was subsequently thought in collaboration with Lieke van Hooijdonk and Sander Rutgers at the Academy of Archite
cture in Rotterdam (coordinator: Job Floris) Jon Lopez & Hikaru Nissanke of OMMX and Gosia Olchowska where invited to give workshops.

Visiting Critics: Anne Dessing, Daniel Rosbottom, Job FlorisJules Schoonman

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