My master's thesis explores a non-object based architecture of freedom which confronts the paradox between economic libertarianism and collectivism.
Today’s built environment, on which capitalism imprints, is described by Michel Foucault as “ill constructed, and jumbled”, and by Koolhaas as “permanently disjointed” and atomising. The optimistic age of the welfare state in Britain however produced architecture which sought to connect people and provide high quality public space.
The studio’s research began by visiting two such sites within London – The Barbican Estate and the Southbank Arts Centre. Both were conceptualised during the post-war era of land art, glamour and public investment, where their forms were conceived not simply as buildings and streets, but as a series of objects captured within foyers.
This reading of ‘objects within foyers’ was applied to Southbank’s theatrical buildings, where event spaces were understood as organs, and the strata of foyers that surround them as connective tissue. Pieces of blunt strata on the periphery of Southbank’s main body, once integral in a vision for a continuous landscape, lie like severed limbs, awkward and problematic. These extremities have the potential to regenerate, synthesising a continuation of the strata towards Jubilee Park and the London Eye.
The project identifies two areas of growth in order to improve porosity and continuity, while delineating the extents of the landscape through reclamation and addition of new forms. The New Southbank is now a dramaturgical enclave, a collection of non-buildings and fluid thresholds within a city of buildings and streets.
The Collective Individual: Confronting Autonomy in an Urban Semiosphere
"A central task of democratic politics is to provide the institutions which will permit conflicts to take an 'agonistic' form" - Chantal Mouffe.
The proposed urban scale plan synthesises an extension of the connective tissue and captures several new organs; an art school, a theatre school and a residential strata. The existing IBM building to the north of the Southbank Centre is to be reclaimed and deep retrofitted as housing, bookended in the south by a new housing stratum adjacent to the London Eye. These will provide housing for transient populations of actors, artists and students working and studying in the enclave, and this integration of a residential element combats the capital investment driven displacement of residents from more lucrative areas.
After graduation I'm looking to work in Dundee and surrounding area, please feel free to get in touch if you are looking for a Part II assistant!