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Reclaiming urban and social gaps through the creation of installation and experience. P OST- P RO ST H ET I C -

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I MP LA N T

REH A B I LI TAT I O N

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part of a submission for MArch degree as part of the D i g i t a l Te c t o n i c s s t u d i o

Alexander

Anthony

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Antoniou


Reclaiming urban and social gaps through the creation of installation and experience. P OST- P RO ST H ET I C -

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I MP LA N T

REH A B I LI TAT I O N

CENTRE


C O N T E N T S


INTRODUCTION

Design & Make CHAPTER 1

Primer

CHAPTER 2

Site

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CHAPTER 3

Brief Aims and Requirements

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CHAPTER 4

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Concept Development CHAPTER 5

Step - by - Step Design Process

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I N T R O D U C T I O N


D M

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N & E

In a bid to develop an installation of ephemeral architecture as part of a small group, a resultant form combining audio, visual as well as experiential attributes translated multiple ideas of the non - permanent. As an object that will at some point cease to exist, all that is left behind is the shape; its body. Slowly wasting away with the lower life forms, parasites feeding off its diminishing body. Hiding in the shadows and shying away from light, this ‘maggot’ feeds off any remaining life form before it disappears and moves on to the next. After feeding off the building, the parasite engages with both the built form as wells as the user, before finally engulfing the visitors, consuming them and allowing them to witness what was previously consumed. The installation attempts to engage with the notion of ephemeral architecture with the response generated from analysis of everyday stimuli that exist in the world around us. The vacant solicitor’s office provided an empty shell; forms in space that no longer contain many of the more ephemeral qualities that once would have enlivened it. The transitional and sometimes imperceptible characteristics of light, noise, movement and data formed the palette, which through digital analysis, has been sculpted into the forms of the installation. The form of the installation was generated through collection of data values that are transient in nature. These being consistently fluctuating daylight levels within the rooms, and reverberating sound particles generated by speakers in the final space. These were modelled digitally and combined to create a flowing, virtual form that gives the impression of a moment frozen in time. The movement of the audio through the space generating and defining the form, is reflecting the consumed past function both within and around the arcade through the non-permanence of the invisible radio waves, scanning through wavelengths which have been left behind. Just like the fleeting stimulus the installation is based on , it too engages with the space in a temporal way and can be completely removed, leaving behind no trace of its presence.

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C H A P T E R


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Being confronted with the term “PACKING” as an initial starting point for the development of an architectural concept, the initial starting point was to develop and understanding of the term as well as acknowledging real characteristics and examples of this. This lead to the undertaking of certain strategies which attempt to show an understanding of the nature of packing, on various levels. From the most basic level, packing exists within the human body. The efficient arrangement of body parts, organs, nerves and arteries is created perfectly for survival and evolution. There are of course ,any guiding factors to what is considered the best type of ‘packing’ according to the circumstances. It might be a desire for cost efficiency, space efficiency, heat control, visibility or the objects fragility. There are, as discovered, two main factors in the concept of packing: that of the OBJECT being packed, and the other that of the CONTAINER which the objects get packed into. This container , in fact a boundary, setting up a two-dimensional or 3-dimensional area or volume to contain. It slowly becomes apparent that these boundaries do not need to be visible or strictly present, but can rather be implied. Perhaps a between-space, implied by the presence of surrounding objects. The first example visited is that of stacking shelves, as you would in a supermarket, a type of horizontal packing, showing that the most efficient packing of the shelve is limited only by the nature of the object, in this case the tin. Here the study shows that by redesigning the form of the tin can, and still keeping its essential nature and function, the packing can become more efficient, allowing more cans on display, with more of the can’s label on show. It shows that there is also still room for adapting designs that have been accepted as resolved.

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1.6 Human body


Following that is an analysis of a project performed by architectural office Terreform1. By taking the existing model of a car parking space, as well as the car itself, an opportunity to increase the efficiency of this relationship arose. By once again understanding what is the function of the innercity car, its was then adapted so as to allow a more compact relationship. This, in turn, results in the parking space itself being revisited, showing that there is immediately a relationship between container and object contained. The modification of one allows and demands the modification of the other. Following the resultant understanding that there is a relationship between object and container, the essential nature of each needed to be explored. What are the defining features of a packed object? Where do its limitations exist? Being free with form, rigidity, density and border gives the designer a toolset by which to work with. By knowing this, it allows modification. The same is then done with the container. Once again, a boundary to a shape, it forms the relationship between the two variable’s properties. It was concluded that the space contained was just as important as the container itself.

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1.7 Sketches - studies of OBJECT and Packaging


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1.8 Packed in a tree


Hence, considering the relationship OBJECT - CONTAINER - SPACE how does this apply in a built, architectural state? While not talking about this relationship in terms of a new development, there is a clear isolation of a certain type of space: that of the LEFT-OVER space. Often found as a resultant space of neglect between purposeful erections, there is an undeniable fact that these areas exist.The exist on many levels and on may scales, on a micro as well as a macros sense within an environment so diverse and rich in ‘objects’ and ‘containers’. From a room, to a building, a street, city or country, these spaces can become an opportunity for design. The placing of an object within this space, where its characteristics are appropriate to those of the container. A tree might have an organic response, whereas a computer might have a more rigid, practical design. The space has been filled so as to provide it with a new function: the regeneration of that space through ornamentation or function.

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1.9 Packed in an electric box


1.10 Packed around a PC - 21 -


1.11 Origami studies


Through research and development, the notion of the origami figure came into play. Made from a single plane of paper, the origami is a very structured element of design. With four strict rules, and a series of sequentially executed creases and folds, the initial plane results in a form of immense visual as well as structural complexity. An object that has various states of presence (ranging from the 0, when it is in completely folded form, to the 1, the plane) the origami still maintains its structure and general form. Although at times this method might not be the most efficient use of space, it is the design with the most options according to its surrounding. With the according types of pressure acting on it, it deforms and adapts to the situation, the container. What are these forces architecturally, and can they be implied rather than explicit? With no attempt to take the use of the origami figure literally, interesting questions had been raised about the way the origami responds to external forces. Could there be an intervention, an object within a left-over space, an installation that responds to external forces, which then becomes a catalyst for regenerating the boundary it is placed within? This is what the primer should aim to do. Designed as a simple box placed at a point of intersection (e.g. a stair landing), enclosed within its sides would be a digital camera, wired to a computer, which in turn is wired to an interface board. By monitoring the visual signal from the camera, the computer translates that into an electrical current, which is wired to a motor, itself attached to a origami figure (continuing the idea of a flexible object). By gauging whether you approach the box from the left or the right, the origami shuffles to the opposite direction, intriguing the user to get closer, test and understand what is happening. The installation has become an object of experience and interaction in an undefined space, attracting users and generating functions around it. This will be the power of an installation of regeneration.

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1.12 Rendered visualization of Primer mod-

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1.12 Test Origami for top Origami


1.13 Primer model in progress

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C H A P T E R


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Having established a basic starting principle with which to begin the practical application of the developed attitude and idea, it was necessary to isolate a site with the potential to truly highlight the possibility for design of these post - event spaces. What was apparent to from the beginning was the nature of the site, as it had to be one which had been abandoned and left, not only through its physical presence but also through its functional one. The density of the site was also a key factor, as the strength behind the developed concept is the working of a design within the limitations of the site as well as function. An ideal candidate for this kind of search within a city was a site of victim to a traumatic event. This is to say that there needs to have been a significant and obvious moment of disconnection between the site and the function, be it through a physical event (e.g. that of a fire, flood or bombing) or an invisible event (e.g. that of an end in fashion, necessity through technological development or an economic crisis). Through a search for this post-traumatic site within cities, the following site was isolated. It is that of the old London Temperance Hospital, a remnant existence of an anti-alcoholic movement which was predominantly dominant in the late 19th to early 20th century. Once under ownership of the UCL Hospital Trust, the site is in a prominent location within Central London. Directly West of London Euston rail station as well as being at the northern gateway to Central London’s university district, this site has oddly remained one of disuse and abuse. Ironically, the once centre for treatment against the use of alcohol is now overrun by the homeless, and has become a dumpster for remnants of alcohol containers and substance abuse tools. Directly adjacent to the site is one of the NHS’s Walk-in Treatment Centres and is still within the Trust’s proximity. The site is in two parts. The first is built on in the form of two buildings built about 50 years apart,connected by a first-floor walkway and surrounding a courtyard on 3 sides. The fourth faces onto St. James gardens, a small park placed between the site and Euston station, which is open roughly 10 hours a day and has within it a small children’s playground. Along the South end of the site runs a small pathway which connects the two roads either side of the block on a pedestrian level. Opposite and West to of the site, the main shapes dominating the immediate surrounding mainly take the form of council housing, with visions of the London BT Tower in the background.

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Bus stops Hospitals Universities Centres of culture Underground stations

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2.1 Extended site map


2.2 Immediate site map


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2.3 Internal courtyard fish-eye


2.3 Elevation West


2.4 Elevation internal - 33 -


C H A P T E R


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P R O S T H E T I C L I T A T I O N

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I M P L A N T C E N T R E


Communal spaces

Entrance spaces

Commercial spaces

C e n t r e ’s o f f i c e s p a c e s

Circulation spaces

Benefactors’ office spaces


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The Centre for Post - Prosthetic Implant Rehabilitation aims to deal with the human relation between the user, his body, the new implant and how they relate to the space around them. This is not to be merely a physiotherapy or occupational therapy centre. It has to respond to the psychological state of the user, and allowing him, as well as the greater public, to understand that prosthesis is no longer a hindrance. Through occupying and expanding the existing site, the building aims to fill the gap that exists in the human condition of acceptance of a foreign addition to a body in need of repair. R E Q U I R E D S E R V I C E S This is not a surgery or medical centre in the traditional sense. Although there will be some medical staff on-site, this is a post surgical treatment centre. Some space is to be allocated to the physical side of recovery, the design will accommodate interactive spaces in which users can take advantage of the opportunity to connect on multiple levels with their prosthesis. Some will have to remain on-site until the time at which they are proud and able to take advantage of their new-found situation. The use will be interactive and event-orientated, while still allowing for personal contemplation and gradual recovery. There also needs to be a public interaction at times and in specific places in the building so as to promote the acceptance of implants, both internal and external. The service will be available for any patient of prosthetic implant. This will also take the form of a prosthetics design centre, artists’ studio and gallery. This will be founded by a private educational company, like that of the UCL, which is seen as an affiliated body also in the running of the Centre.The site is ideally placed at the gateway of the city’s central Higher Education district, allowing it to take advantage of the accumulated and growing knowledge of institutes around it. Secondary influencing bodies will also be included, like that of charity organisations, prosthetic manufacturing companies and a gymnasium. An integration into the closer city fabric is required, especially in regards to the connection to the public. It is important that this does not become an isolated disregarded site, wrongly treated as an alternative medicine treatment centre. Special attention must be given to the access and fire safety of the building, as well as some particular attention to how the new building extension will attach onto the existing. Functions will have to be rigorously grouped and arranged to ensure the fire safety of each type of space. Although no real limit to the presence of the project, it is very much recommended to keep the height of the project within that of its context, ideally not exceeding 5 or 6 storeys for most part. The aims is an integration of open and interior spaces, private and public, with an interactive element between users and individual prosthetic situations, all overlaid in various ways within the design.

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C H A P T E R


P R E C E D E N T S T U DY : V I S I O N P R O S T H E TI C S : Scientifically, the definition of “prosthetics” is an artificial device extension which assists or enhances the result of trauma, disease or defect. It is either supplementary or that of replacement, as it becomes a whole system of interconnecting parts of sensors, controllers and moving parts.The development of prosthetics has reached unbelievable levels, with additions nowadays ranging from macro scales to micro scales.The result though is still the same.As stated by Freud: “With every tool (man) is perfecting his own organs, whether motor or sensory, or is removing the limits of their disfunctionality.“ What this speaks of is absolutely essential. When considering the “prosthetic” as a tool, it becomes apparent that the existence of prosthetics is a lot older than initially thought. Consider the telescope. As an object it is one of basic principle, however it’s function is one of improving man’s limitation to see at a distance. This has now become an external addition, an extension to his limitation, allowing him to explore and develop further. At the opposite scale, consider the apparently simple contact lens. The prosthetic addition has now moved within the body and has become ridiculously small, but its improvement of the human’s hindrance is huge. It is within this quote and these examples that lies the human condition relating to the understanding of the human relation to prosthetics. The apparent duality of approach that man has had to adopt to deal with his double desire: first, the need for him better himself and push his abilities beyond the limitations of his current state, be it repair or improvement, and second he needs to maintain his humanity, his own self and control over his own body. It is within this balance that there develops a possibility for architectural response. With scientific developments always present, there is no reason why prosthetics,

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4.1 Analysis of MORPHOSIS - Personal House

4.2 - 4.6 Clockwise from top _ Constant Nieuwenhuis _ Lebbeus Woods _ Lebbeus Woods _ Teddy Cruz _ Constant Nieuwenhuis

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4.7 Visual prosthetic analysis


4.8 Translation of taste to the sense of seeing


this foreign addition to the body for repair or advancement, cannot solve physical, as well as neurological problems, architectural or scientific. How do you take one’s limit or inability to perform and turn it into a unique condition of experience? In the image opposite is a visual concept interpretation of how people with the inability to taste or smell could prosthetically change their experience of flavour. This has drawn inspiration from the development of a pseudoscope, a device developed to reverse the normal entry of the light image entering an individual’s right and left eye through the arrangement of mirrors, completely altering the visual experience and understanding of the traditional depth of field. Through the implementation of sensors, receivers and computing, a visual interpretation of the chemicals released while eating can be processed by a micro computer and transmit an individual visual to the user. What it is attempting to illustrate is that this idea of prosthetic improvement can perhaps at some stage change and translate a gap in ability, a hindrance, into a post-implant result of desire. These people become a collective elite of individual spatial experience. But to do this, they still need to maintain a control over themselves. These people are not to be perceived as cyborg mutations but instead innovators in our ability as humans to understand and express the world around us. The gap in ability has now become a new tool of exploration of the world around us. O N

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While considering the approach to the projects from various angles, it was considered that the design attached to the site could be prosthetic in nature.The following model (4.9) is an abstract interpretation of this, where there is a certain materiality to the site, an extrusion to the buildings with key spaces that protrude from a fabric, as well as vertical access nodes, piercing the visible fabric. The photos 4.10 indicate a more real approach to the site. Showing the immedi-

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4.9 Abstract site model


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4.10 Site model with plug no. 1


4.11 Grid system and translations into design


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4.12 The building as a body


4.13 Interventions

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4.14 Stitching the fabric


ate context of the two existing buildings, a ‘plug’ has been inserted into the model which displays two grids, overlapping in a type of moire effect.These are the grids drawn from the two existing buildings and will be used to inform the new design that is to be added. Image 4.11 shows this better. By highlighting the two grids, specific points of intersection have been highlighted. This is were the initial position of supporting columns will be placed.The radius from one column to the next is indicative to the ‘magnitude’ that the column has on the space, and that magnitude will be translated three-dimensionally on the floor, as well as roof plane. Translating the design attitude into terms of body, prosthetic and additions, image 4.12 gives a clear design approach to the project, with the 4 distinct elements running throughout and being visible on all levels of design, from planning, to detailing. Not forgetting that this project has to interact with the existing fabric, image 4.13 shows the way in which the new-built can do this, in terms of REPAIR, REPLACE and ANNEX according to the structural system of each building. Image 4.14 is the beginnings of the ‘stitching’ process between the two buildings. Highlighting where the connections need to be made, both inter-floor and across multiple levels, the arterial system begins to highlight areas of ‘dense arterial networking’ that will be the guiding factor to the placement of key design spaces of experience.

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C H A P T E R


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D E V E L O P M E N T


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Reclaiming urban and social gaps through the creation of installation and experience  

Post-prosthetic implant rehabilitation centre

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