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institution of interpretation

If we solely rely on seeing the familiar in familiar ways, we will only be able to re-enact what we have already done and reconfirm what we already know.1 Lebbeus Woods




chapter I chapter II

chapter III

chapter IV

chapter V






Intimacy of the city methodology of the dĂŠrive holes in the city forgotten desires four short projects/intimate strategies


An all-encompassing story language constructed of jargon spheres of engagement iconic presence on the street perimeter condition kit of institutional parts


Institution of Interpretation introduction of a mediating character situation equation as argumentation theory the playhouse testing ground: benvie road yard




end notes + images




I. character profiles in the Dundee Story


II. situation equation


III. intimate urbanism groupwork [in separate document]


preamble We glide and grind around the city, particles in a buzzing web of communication; each piece of the urban jigsaw is now saturated with memory and event yet at eye level we observe eerily quiet spots, the disappointing sensation of an unresolved argument, always en route to those noisy and energetic spaces which we choose as our destination. The power of decision making manifests itself as institutions, a measurement of the health of our cities and an embodiment of our collective thoughts. Dundee offers itself as laboratory for experimenting with the translation of knowledge sought into tools for design. At times, the following thesis may not be instantly recognisable as conventional architectural process but I assure you that it always remains loyal, choosing to posit urban architecture as part of a wider discourse. A recognition that others are negociating similar themes as architects, such as community, just existing in a different ivory tower on the other side of town; we require a forum for dialogue to bridge these disparate pockets of knowledge and method. 1 I have strayed from the subject of architecture for research, heavy with its own embedded jargon, in a deliberate attempt to allow the thesis room to breathe, turning to the writings of Michel Foucault, the minds of linguist-mathematicians at Bletchley park and the reality of computer science theory. Though diligently returning to such architects as John Hejduk, as inspiration in wading through the complex challenge of marrying the abstract and the actual, in stitching together the frayed boundary between architectural theory and practice. Equally, referring to contemporary practices who rigorously confront design driven by an exciting dose of social agenda. 1

chapter I The city emits a constant buzz of conversation, as layers of introduction dialogue slide against each other, turning the cogs of the urban experience, creating the tracks we press our footprints into. These invisible forces tug and push, a network of different languages bouncing off each other which define how we experience city life. Within each city, there is a story where a stadium’s worth of characters each uses its own language to not only communicate with others but equally, to project an image of itself, a projection of its unique personality. What ensues amongst this complex web of characters is miscommunication, tense encounters and disagreements; holes in the storyline that forge holes in the city. These manifest themselves as derelict buildings, exclusive territory, severed links or simply buildings which choose not to engage with the world beyond their doorstep, the unknowns. Dundee assumes its position as the theatre for experiment, the thesis will develop characters of the city in a bid to establish how different personalities with diverse agendas fare alongside each other, the encounters and the relationships. The characters are the city’s institutions, as defined by Foucault as the means that power uses, an inescapable film that covers all human interactions.2 Institutions speak to us emphatically about society, in tones economic, political and social; as an all encompassing entity, they are the city’s barometer. A key objective is to engage with the totality of the city, the human and urban experience together and all that is in between. This is possible due to three decisions, firstly to investigate and construct the relationships between characters and not just the characters as standalone and abstract objects; secondly, by employing institutions as the basis for characters, a definable entity but one which is telling of a more perplexing process and thirdly, by testing ideas on a real site. An intention of this thesis is to set out tools for inhabiting dysfunctional urban sites, highlighting the exciting capacity of communication and interpretation within architecture. The intention is not to simplify or dilute the content of languages uncovered but rather to embrace complexity and knowledge, learning how to profit from diverse personalities, inspire more dialogue and avoid time wasting clashes. This thesis endeavours to develop ideas exploring what John Hejduk describes as silent


architecture, a method of “effacing the overly noisy world of building production and media, the protagonists of architecture.”3 That is, taking a moment of quiet reflection to take notice of the subtle glances rather than being bullied by obvious expressions. Small delicate components fundamentally influence the city dynamic as much as the large and clunky ones.


Words and stories have great ability to spark imagination, something architecture is dependent upon if it is to involve the individual as well as representing the collective. There is an ambition to spark competition by running the construction of Dundee’s institutions as characters parallel with an architectural program that explores spatial design through a system of language translation; an institution of interpretation, a mediator, igniting the possibility of filling each discovered hole. They are running adjacent to each other, pushing one another to try harder but are also companions for when problems arise. Whilst the narrative may prove loyal to words, the spatial/material project will explore many different media with enthusiasm including models, photography, collage, technical drawing and geometry. This is an investigation into the architect’s role within that uncontrollably malleable notion of ‘urbanism’, theorising a position within a wider discourse, at the same time allowing me, as author/designer, to test my own moral framework through architectural research by design.

chapter II intimacy of the city

As a group of five we set out with the ambition to get under Dundee’s skin, to creatively analyse the city with architectural minds and rigour. As inspired by Charles and Ray Eames and their Powers of Ten,4 we sought to invert the process, starting at the scale of eye level and zooming outwards. Uninhibited by conventional approaches to urban site analysis, we chose to explore the theory of the dérive, wandering and drifting around the city guided by emotional reactions to the built environment, the psychogeography of the city, as explored by Guy Debord and the Situationists. Our interpretation of the dérive as a tool to make readings of the city with a hearty social consciousness. We longed for the forgotten desires of Dundee and a sense of knowledge-action to our practice and findings, setting ourselves various levels of parameters to ensure we could not predict the results and thus not be afraid of surprising consequences.5 For each dérive, there was an agreed range of information to gather, allowing for comparison as well as challenge. Through the methodology of the dérive, we have constructed cross sections of the city [images 2-3], which behave as all encompassing slices. These prove all encompassing by piecing together disparate fragments and form the beginnings of a city narrative by witnessing all possible characters of the story in action at once. Story telling as a truly spatial experience where the protagonists begin to shout loudest in potent power struggles and powers of observations are required to be finely tuned in order to notice the quieter characters hiding behind, potentially suppressed. The dérive has allowed the development of a non-passive reaction to the built environment, experiencing forgotten desires through walking. The desire to get to know one’s city through entering into dialogue with it and how this, in turn, opens up a labyrinthine box of opportunity. The best journey through the city is not necessarily the quickest, there are other things to consider than efficiency, there is play for example, the mirror twin to the western thirst for functional purpose, passing time purely for enjoyment or meditation. Perhaps if the Dundonian took the winding path rather than the straight one, it would permit him/ her more time to resolve an important problem; it is the value of thinking time. It is also the value of using the city to work/ walk through a problem, identifying with the city and using this understanding to enter into dialogue with it.



holes in the city Crossing Dundee by foot has led to the identification of ‘holes’ in the city, spaces where dialogue has failed, where the fuzzy sound of static or crossed wires hums in the air like an electric fence. There is an anonymous quality to these holes yet they each seem to exist in their present state following encounters and conversations between many participants, a concoction of fraught disagreements and abandoned bonding sessions. There is a story to tell but for now, for some reason, it has been decided to keep it under wraps.

2. front page to ‘walks in dundee’- guide compiled for others to follow in the steps of our dérive routes presented in the style of a countryside ramblers’ book 3. map showing all four dérives, cross sections of Dundee

There is a possibility that the holes described might be an addition to the list of Marc Augé’s ‘non-places’ in an expansion of his definition. In Non-Places: An Introduction to Supermodernity, Augé introduces the notion of ‘non-place’ such as motorways, supermarkets and airport lounges as places where individuals have little interaction with the experience of being in that space and rather, it is institutions who dictate the conditions, sometimes mysteriously, through ‘messages’. These messages can take the form of text and be of an informative or instructive nature such as “Flight 179 to Paris. Go to Departure Gate 3” in an international airport or “Buy One Get One Free on tins of Baked Beans. Today Only. Aisle 16” in a local supermarket. More ambiguously than these definitions, I believe the messages can take the form of spatial conditions such as a fence decorated with coils of barbed wire which encloses a territory or a wall with paint peeling past the point of maintenance. The banal and controlled nature of Augé’s ‘non-places’ is part of very deliberate agendas by their respective institutions to behave like machines, as soon as the individual enters, it must traverse through then most essentially of all, exit. Conversely, the holes are unintentional glitches in the system but always dealing with those institutions rooted in community, where individuals rest and dwell and are therefore required to fight the banal and resist over-control. The institutions that need concern themselves with these battles include local governments, health services, police forces and colleges of higher education. By likening holes in the city to Augé’s non-places, I am illustrating that this is not a question of unpossessed or forgotten sites but victims of power struggles and colliding egos. [images 4-7] Another definition that falls onto the lap of the city hole, or perhaps vice versa, is that of heterotopias, a term rooted in medicine but reinterpreted by Michel Foucault. Heterotopias are described by Foucault as sites which undermine language by



destroying the very syntax which causes words and things to hold together, they do not follow conventional rules and therefore applying conventional methods and thinking to them are pointless. We require new tools to deal with this attack on speech, this power to “stop words in their tracks”. Holes in the city hold the power to stop words making sense, to render situations senseless, the challenge is how to harness this power into something productive over obstructive. Heterotopias challenge the homogeneous site, where things with existing identities are landed like alien spaceships, by suggesting ‘heterotopic’ sites host things with different identities as well but the difference is how they relate to each other, as defined by the unique conditions of each site. The substance for new tools already exists at each hole but craves communication and an understanding that identity is not something requiring invention, the holes undermine and challenge it and only ephemerally encase it, away from recognition.

selected from a collection of photographs taken on a 120mm Mamiya 645 camera which document each dérive [clockwise from top left]: 4. boarded up lawton road school; 5. victoria dock pedestrian swing bridge; 6. communal laundry area, saggar st; view through law hill allotments ... is this the first sighting of holes?

In his lecture Of Other Spaces, Foucault emphasises the shift in thinking that occurred during the twentieth century, the increase in the complexity of society from single, separate events happening along a line dominated by chronology, to the emergence of a more pluralist philosophy, entering into an ‘epoch of simultaneity’. This infers the acquisition of the line travelling in one direction by a network which connects points travelling in many intersecting directions, a web. The heterotopias nestle within the web bearing particular relations to particular points acting within particular systems; the points are the characters, the systems are the distinctive institutions, ingrained with jargon, which they operate within. These are systems which ponder oppositions not yet broken down as referred to by Foucault, namely private/public, family/social, cultural/useful, leisure/work; multiple systems coexisting but, essentially, operating with feedback systems so that they are capable of juxtaposing in a single real place, several sites that are considered incompatible. In Recombinant urbanism, David Grahame Shane beckons heterotopias wholeheartedly into the arena of discourse on architecture and urban design. Shane proposes a ‘city-element triad’ which places heterotopia alongside enclave and armature, a new addition to the traditional city model; its function to maintain the city’s stability as a self-organising system. This is a balance required by the simultaneity of the more recent urban model as highlighted by Foucault. Shane makes reference to the urban fragments produced



by Debord’s Naked City, Lynch’s City as a Machine and Rowe’s Collage City which all lead to exclusions, whether that is the places outside or inside the motionless fragments. Heterotopias allow ‘shifting sites of reflection’ which increase the city’s capacity to transform or adjust over time. Inspired by Foucault, Shane coins another medical-cum-architectural term, rhizomic assemblage, the notion of a flexible network which unites diverse elements, adapting to unique situations. The city is “bottling up change in heterotopic spatial pockets”, as Shane frames it, these are laboratories to test unusual combinations; the holes present themselves as testing grounds for new ideas. The concept of the ‘hole in the city’, although sharing semantic similarities, should not be confused with being equivalent to the term ‘urban void’. This concept was developed initially by urban planner, Bernardo Secchi in the 1980s, and was predominantly associated with sprawling cities and the disappearance of certain industrial typologies, stretching the urban realm to the point of ripping, sites suddenly finding themselves unoccupied and awaiting reclassification. ‘Urban void’ suggests an absence, a lack of belonging, ownership or love and certainly a deficiency in communication. In contrast, the city hole is the manifestation and direct product of an overload of agendas which causes conversations to go round in circles and a loss of clarity. There are certain resemblances to be drawn along themes of conflicted identity and temporality, however, it is important to note that the hole is specifically linked to how institutions communicate with one and other over dysfunctional sites. Secchi touches on the idea that another type of ‘urban void’ might be caused by “objects tactically placed next to each other, mute”, for whatever reason communication is deliberately ceased.6 Such interstitial spaces might once have been treated as meeting places but due to aggressively severed links have now lost the ability to recognise that definition.

forgotten desires In contrast to the holes, a clearer, crisper tone is found at

space studies at the arches [left-right]: 8. elevational-plan montage 9. hand text-drawing

other points across the city which we were keen to explore and dissect. [images 8-9] Through the dérives, we stumbled across a number of spaces of varying use but which held a common thread, a certain quality; attributed to various combinations of: interstitial in location, an absence of economic drive, a place to fill time, ownership claimed through activity, a sense of being stumbled upon, fuelling subculture, inhabited by children and a



strong sense of community. These observations allowed us to focus positively on those ‘distinctly Dundee’ characteristics7 and how people inhabit and experience space at human scale. Through the ‘space studies’, we have explored textures, materials and surrounding building use in dense hand text-drawings, the nature of bordering and overlooking structures as well as topography in elevational-plan montages and the key elements which inform the character of the space through reductive steel and wood models. [image 10] These space studies have shown successful conversations taking place in an open forum between a number of participants, comprising institution, community and site, a willingness to communicate, to open up for dialogue. As an example, the graffiti-pitch is essentially, and described without emotion, a scrap of leftover land, overlooked by an urban block’s worth of tenements as well as Dundee’s tallest ‘multis’. Its success as 5-a-side football pitch, graffiti canvas and dog walking spot is the result of good communication and clarity of language, an agreement. Dundee City Council [agenda: provide a service to the community], Tayside Police [agenda: avoid anti-social behaviour and maintain safety], Dundonians, in particular teenagers [agenda: occupy time, have fun, express themselves], the space itself [agenda: to be loved] have communicated with each other and come to an agreement on how the space is to be successfully used. These mutterings begin to form the bones of a plot, the reductive models and drawings represent a storyline, a blurb, for a far more sophisticated narrative.

four short projects/ intimate strategies

top; 10. reductive model of the arches exaggerating those elements that contribute most to the space’s character 11. Cut up V&A

These intimate group work studies culminating in a series of four short projects have informed strategic moves for approaching urban problems across the city based on the inversion of the process, starting at people scale and evolving outwards to encompass the entire city of Dundee. We have unashamedly tackled Dundee as a ‘Shrinking City’ questioning why the population is contracting and yet low density suburbia is sprawling out into the countryside, leaving large scraps of unused land in the centre [certainly included as holes], the thought of high density has become a nightmare, to be avoided at all cost. Two separate concepts consider handing land back to rural life and enriching space within the urban realm. Firstly, through coiling up the dérive route lines towards the city centre [i.e. towards the Tay], which squeezes unnecessarily large spaces and prolific



circulation omnipresent in suburbia; and secondly, through the extraction of key buildings from along each dérive and slotting them into vacant space lying unused in the centre, stacking on top of each other if needs be and increasing density in central areas. The concept of the ‘Cut Up V&A’ introduces the idea that any artistic or cultural institution introduced to a city should be meaningfully integrated with the entire city for all to engage with rather than situating itself at the end of an isolated peninsula with no one to talk to but itself, for what a boring monologue that could prove to be. This holds relevance with the impending arrival of the Victoria & Albert museum in Dundee. As a group we embarked on an adventure to insert a piece of art into an unexpected context; during twilight hours a framed print was firmly screwed into the stone arch, as considered in the space studies [image 11]. The choice of Alexander Rodchenko’s photograph, The Dive, is a significant choice as an artist who engaged with innovative techniques in order to use art as a social tool for a reimagining of attitude. He believed that an artist should “take several different shots of a subject, from different points of view and in different situations, as if one examined it in the round rather than looked through the same key-hole again and again.”8 Of course this also fulfilled Rodchenko’s role within the propaganda requirements of the Soviet Union; the subject of a diver at an outside pool is illustrative of successful community based activity. A Russian contemporary of Rodchenko’s, El Lissitzky believed that ideas reach you through the eye, ideas that can enter consciousness, a short film documenting the ‘Cut up V&A’ event seeks to do just that.

top; 12. reinvention of tayside house [from top left clockwise: leisure tower, farm tower, park tower and education tower overleaf: 13. typology top trumps: dundee edition, front + reverse cards and instructions 14. typology top trumps all playing cards

The ‘Reinvention’ strategy began life in reaction to the superficial reasons why certain unpopular buildings or spaces, such as Dundee City Council’s home Tayside House, are disliked and how simple reinterpretations might breathe life and love into them once more [image 12]. This evolved into a proposal which totally reinvents how Dundonians move about their city. The idea bursts through into three dimensions, exploiting Dundee’s topography, delving underground to culverted rivers and reaching upwards to the top of the Law, employing existing nodes as infrastructure exchange hubs such as the infamous Hilltown ‘multis’ and industrial relics. The city is not static, heavy stone that needs to be painfully chiselled, it is elastic, dynamic and in constant flux; it is to be enjoyed as an ever changing labyrinth.






The fourth and final short project entails our invention of ‘Typology Top Trumps: Dundee Edition’. [images 13-14] This exercise is a structured catalogue of research gathered from first and second hand experience investigating the aesthetic and economic patterns of Dundee. Perhaps most significantly, it raises the question of taste and what Dundonians actually aspire to. The playing cards are colour coded according to three distinct types of building use, residential, civic and commercial, each colour with its own category strengths; the pack also includes an extra game, ‘Dundee’s Public + Private Spaces’. The games present information as accessible and do not shy away from a sense of play, they invite the players to get to know their city. This ethic resonates strongly within the moral framework of this thesis.

chapter III an all-encompassing story

“In us inspiration to learn. Inspiration to question. Inspiration to live. Inspiration to express. These bring to man their institutions. The architect is the maker of their spaces.” 9 Louis Kahn In Discipline and Punish, Foucault speaks of the city’s institutions as enclaves, extracting the misfits of society in order to maintain a level of normality. Paradoxically, a list of Dundee’s contemporary institutions, from overtly accessible to secretly mysterious, will inevitably cover every single person living and entering the city, at least once over. In today’s society, the institutions create all that is normal and abnormal in the city, blurring any boundary between the two, as an entity they represent a totality and for this purpose form the basis of characters. [image 15] Institutions progress from merely a dirty word to developed characters, with layers and stories to tell, existing in an all encompassing narrative of the city, a tool to explore all the conversations taking place in the city and test the health of relationships.

15. city plan mapping the all-encompassing entity of Dundee’s institutions as city barometer

An all encompassing story pieced together by institutions is alluded to by Foucault who situates them in the entangling web of power relations. Institutions are the more easily definable instruments which perform the workings of the less tangible



power and hence, are examples of embedded methods, their modus operandi. With the concept, power-knowledge, Foucault refers to the importance of a symbiotic relationship existing between the two, one always feeding the other, it is a neologism that he later transformed into another, governmentality, gaining further meaning of decision making and its responsibilities. Regardless of whether we personally experience the physical architecture which represents the institutions of Dundee, we are constantly affected and influenced by their presence and this is a result of how each one chooses to communicate itself to the city. Each institution has particular jargon and language which reflects how it wishes to perceive itself to others, the languages are born out of practice and history, they piece together the city narrative, something all encompassing but not necessarily visual, familiar but not guaranteed to make sense. Institution is a word whose reputation precedes it, for each individual some version of the banal and rigid, yet it represents the nearest that we can ever come to reaching our collective ideals. All the characters of the city line up, the four protagonists step forward, University of Dundee, Tayside Police, Dundee City Council and NHS Tayside. These are the big players, four institutions that collectively are involved in the majority of conversations across the city, including the arguments which create the holes. For this reason, the exploration into different aspects of the characters’ personalities and subsequently the relationships in between is to be focussed on these four power houses that create schisms in the city dynamic and ruthlessly cause alienation. What follows are studies in the assimilation of personality traits, which form springboards for devising design tools.

language “Vocabulary ... is what weaves the tissue of habits, educates the constructed of gaze, informs the landscape.” 10 Marc Augé jargon

16. jargon collages, excerpts from press releases create footprint of headquarters, [clockwise from top left: NHS, police, council, university]

A swift glance of institutional websites and press releases will reveal languages constructed of jargon, it is possible with further analysis to establish exactly how each one very deliberately decides to communicate itself to an undefined audience using a carefully constructed lexicon and consequently, how it is perceived by the individual under the mantra, ‘projection is perception’[image 16]. Jargon dresses itself up in uniforms and crests decorated with Latin mottos. This study has shown



strong similarities between University of Dundee and NHS Tayside contrasting with the resemblance between Dundee City Council and Tayside Police. There exists a danger of the university and NHS excluding groups of people with their high use of jargon densified into sophisticated language, and particularly with respect to the university, sophisticated content. On the other hand, the council and police appear to dumb down and simplify their language, the council choosing to repeat each clear statement with a version housed in between quotation marks cited by a self-appointed leader. In this apparent air of distrust, the council is dealing with an individual who automatically suspects its message to be misleading. The police restricts itself to autistic detail; each point regimentally reinforced with day, date, time, location, description and so on; information and advice as grid references. The NHS is inseparably entangled with the profession it supports, initials and acronyms replace words and phrases in a bid to obsessively maximise efficiency, reducing its language to near nonsense to the unfamiliar, a hangover of the medical profession abbreviating drugs and illnesses; mazes of jargon substitute sentences. The language of the university is relatively more accessible in some respects but still emphasises specific interests beyond the scope of the everyday which the individual may find alienating. It speaks with confidence of its own achievements and higher knowledge on the world stage with little concern of who, within the city, it need impress. If I were to assign a book to represent each character we would find Council as short stories for children, police as instruction manual, NHS as textbook, university as poem.

spheres of In addition to the construction of the language itself, the use engagement of it to project a personality is reliant on its dispersal across

17. spheres of engagement mapping communication signal on the city [clockwise from top left: council, NHS, police, university]

the city, that is, the strength of its communication signal [image 17]. These spheres of engagement are even influenced by the nature of a slogan or motto and tests how many people resonate with it. The signs point towards the university and NHS holding on too tightly to their knowledge and depriving the city of potential resources. They each guard their own territory rarely stretching outside the comfort zone and on the occasions that they do, it is most likely to rub shoulders with one another. Conversely, the council and police, although with obvious central hubs, spread their presence across and engage with the entire city, reducing in size, through a police patrol car or council wheelie



bin for example. This is not from a static position either but rather one that is constantly dynamic. Of course, this could be construed as either familiar friend or watchful eye. The council is bruised and nervous but wears the hat of responsibility; the police is brash and brutish yet exists as an enforcer of safety.

iconic presence For many people in the city, the institutions are represented not on the street through a building but through icons and it is usually an object or image from a collection of familiar things which clearly signifies the presence of each institution on the street [image 18]. For example: council-wheelie bin, police-patrol car, NHSprescriptive medicine and university-blue crest. It is these icons which begin to tackle questions of how characters might start communicating with each other, the content of conversation, the dynamics as well as perceived hierarchies. The collection of icons often includes a human representative whose unpredictability holds the danger of misrepresenting the institution’s personality. However this is a reminder not to dismiss the unpredictability of a first conversation11 and the pool of potential creativity and knowledge this represents. 25

physical It is possible to ascertain an institution’s visual imprint on expression the city if one combines its icons with its physical nature. As

18. icon object groups [top-bottom: NHS, council, police, university]

with any personality, physical expression plays an important role in communicating with others. In the case of an institution, this is primarily through its building hub(s), the architecture it chooses to portray itself through which often settles in central locations. An investigation into the perimeter condition of an institutional hub will identify its pattern of complexity, a how-to kit of design and construction [images 19-22]. These patterns can be very telling of how far the institution is willing to go to engage with the city. If the pattern, or collection of patterns, is too complex it risks intimidating others, if dense and impenetrable, it may be presumed inaccessible, or if repetitive, the legibility may prove comforting yet risks the projection of apathy. The level of complexity constructing the perimeter condition is closely related to the complexity of the language, or rather of the coding of language, as employed by each character.

point of entry [fire exit?]

secondary point of entry?

secondart point of entry?

primary point of entry

primary point of entry

secondary point of entry?

primary point of entry


primary point of entry

primary point of entry

19. university: matthew building, institute of sport + exercise, belmont tower, tower building

title 20. council HQ, tayside house

main point of entry [across bridge]

perimeter condition collages analysing level of legibility for the visitor and ability to penetrate the faรงade

point of entry [staff only]

point of entry [staff + public]

21. tayside police HQ


point of entry [staff only?]

point of entry [staff only?]

point of entry

point of entry?

point of entry?


point of entry [fire exit?]

22. NHS ninewells hospital

These four areas of scrutiny when compiled together lead to a personality package of sorts for each character, a potent starting point for presenting a profile of the newly definable characters; the pleaser [council], the intimidator [police], the coder [NHS] and the hoarder [university]. The descriptions provide the brief for a piece of architecture by highlighting the interfaces and thresholds which separate and connect each institution. The analysis of each area of research constructs tools for deciphering, or interpreting, conversations. The characters as abstract objects are only a limited resource, it is important for there to be an emphasis on the relationships between objects, furthermore, rather than directly looking at the relationship between each institution and the community, the challenge is how institution-institution relationships filter down to affect the community.

overleaf: 23. institution kit of parts, components of institutional activity; NHS as light blue, university as dark blue, police red, council as grey

At this point in the research, the thesis presents a paradigm shift, the development of characters involved in the conversations of the Dundee Story are asking for a more tangibly spatial/material project to collaborate and compete with, an arena to spread their wings in. The first step in this transition is the devising of kit part components for each institution. When tackling the design of Monaco Entertainment centre, a shed to host a series of diverse activities and a project that would bring the group closest to reality, Archigram conceived a kit-of-parts to plan all the gadgets involved in the successful servicing of the building, not all obviously architectural in nature such as robots. Rather than explicitly contriving physical things, the institutions crave components of activity related to the idiosyncratic functions associated with each one, translations of personality and agenda; they are representations of collective ideals. [image 23] There is a necessary simplicity in the standalone components which allows many complex interactions to take place in response to uniquely complex situations; the temporary assembly of components visualises a brief for permanent inhabitation of the hole by intervention of the community. The demand for interpretation of conversations and coordination of activity components advocates the introduction of a new character.





chapter IV Institution of Interpretation

The institutions are all talking over each other in different languages, transforming the city into an arena of senseless/ fidgety monologue, ignorant of discourse. Miscommunication leads to misunderstanding leads to holes in the urban fabric; we require an Institution of Interpretation to unmuddle this mess. A new character introduced to the conversations whose role proclaims to conduct mediation and engage with multiple translation devices, constructing solutions for inhabiting each hole. It aspires to invent a process that creates a universal language of its own, one of combined jargon. The institutions convert their language into dense code as the German army did during World War II using the Enigma and Lorenz machines. At Bletchley Park, linguist-mathematicians devised systems of message deciphering, which culminated in the invention of the first programmable computer, the Colossus, a massive spatial exploration [images 24+25]. As the process of ciphering involved many layers, with language pushed through numerous starting positions and letter pairing configurations increasing each time, so too did the deciphering in reverse, unravelling the layers through a series of events, all the time reliant on an input of human knowledge/memory. [image 26] The configuring systems of the enigma machine are analogous to the evolutionary construction of language jargon driven by institutional agendas; each process of ciphering is equivalent to one element of the personality, requiring analytical dissection. This dissection allows translation between different codes, thus institutions, to take place.

photographs from bletchley park [left-right]: 24. german enigma machine 25. british bombe machine 26. flow diagram mapping the system of deciphering of encrypted German messages as human [knowledge] + machine [process]

The existence of an Institution of Interpretation could not function without the ability to perform processes synonymous with the Enigma machine such as a production line where many disparate input leads to one or several inter-connected output. Equally important, an organic ability to adapt, morph and evolve as desires and needs are ever changing and a capacity to store a pool of knowledge/memory of the city, constantly updated by the institutions. Through his ‘masque’ explorations, Hejduk discusses a subversive language that evolves by involving, “the ultimate subversion does not necessarily consist of saying what shocks public opinion, but of inventing a paradoxical discourse. Invention ... is a revolutionary act and it cannot be accomplished other than by setting up a new language.”12 If one were to attempt to define the new language imagined by



John Hejduk, it would most likely be situated within the cryptic world of silent architecture, a place filled with child-like imagination and wonder. In his introduction to Hejduk’s Mask of Medusa collective, Daniel Libeskind discusses the context of wonder within his work as an enlightening message to be understood as a ‘key to a labyrinth of unsuspected or diffused meanings’, perhaps Libeskind is alluding to a gateway which leads to the quixotic subconscious of architecture’s brain. As the memory of dreams tells us, the subconscious works in mysterious ways, containing familiar things in situations that are recognisable by association yet upon closer inspection, are slightly amiss and illogical, whether in the subtle details or universal rules. Where Hejduk meets with the subconscious and dreams is a world much denser and metaphorical that the one we know and converse in, but importantly a world that is just as valid. The reoccurring theme of Hejduk’s Masques is the rigorous description of situations and relationships through series of object/subject pairings. The individual [subject] always performs an activity in a place [object] which is intrinsic to that activity as brought to attention by Hejduk’s urban set designs. [image 27] This emphasis on the relationship between object and subject ensures a human experiential quality is maintained, while allowing freedom for the ambiguity of these roles to be toyed with, testing questions of inhabitation and identity.

27. John Hejduk: new site plan for Berlin showing one possible configuration of the 67 structures proposed in the catalogue, Victims

However, there exists an inherent difficulty throughout Hejduk’s work with reference to the marriage between the abstract and the actual, this is often attributed to a softly-softly approach when it comes to defining parameters and a vague sense of boundaries which struggle to be recognisable alongside real problems. As a practicing architect and academic he always adamantly denied the accusation that his work purely theorises architecture but claimed it is a design tool for imaginative interpretation, a tool which opens the door to a parallel world that is subtlety skewed from the one we are each familiar with. Yet the transition into existing context is often uncomfortable and fissured which concludes with a dimension of complexity being lost. For all its loyalty to activity and event, there remains a certain emptiness, it seems at times that Hejduk has stood just one step too far away so that we cannot quite hear his voice or read the words passing his lips. In his essay entitled One or Many Masters? which features in Hejduk’s Chronotope, R.E. Somol describes how Hejduk has devised


a ‘stone soup’ urbanism where he provides the recipe and the stone but these remain useless unless there is an addition of existing conditions, ‘real ingredients’, and only then can the success of the narrative be assessed. Within the same book, Stan Allen’s essay, Nothing but Architecture, quotes a warning of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, “do not expect the abstract machine to resemble what it produces.”13 The interpretation of Hejduk’s architecture is not possible in one step, it aspires to the production of new rules affecting the delicate balances of power thus lining a nest for the birth of new institutions and at this point, it gains relevance in this thesis and in solving real architectural problems.

Previous research on the four protagonists is critically analysed in order to conceive a brand new narrative on how each institution interacts with institution, community and site. The kit part components behave as collective ideals which can be imaginatively reassembled and reassembled and so on, creating infinite possibilities. 36

The ‘situation equation’ is born out of a need to map the exact processes that the Institution of Interpretation must perform, its roles and responsibilities in more banal terms. It must be generic enough to be all encompassing of the city as a whole but specific enough to react to unique, zoomed in situations. It is required to identify those characters involved in each conversation as well as identifying the ‘hole’ conditions and consequently its worth to the city, its status as an anti-social magnet and the nature of its inhabitants. It is obliged to refer to stored knowledge updated by the institutions in addition to the collection of knowledge from the community for each ‘hole’ inhabited. [image 28 p. 38-39] There exist similarities between argumentation and the situation equation. Argumentation theory is an interdisciplinary idea of how humans reach conclusions through logical reasoning, driven by a protection of self-interest. It is a study into the dissection of an argument. Within the field of computer science, argumentation is employed in multi-agent systems, part of the discourse on artificial intelligence; each agent is considered ‘intelligent’, that is, autonomous and holding local views, all interacting in a decentralised system. The Institution of Interpretation refers to agents as characters, the individual institutions. There is

situation equation as argumentation theory

less an eristic ambition, where victory over an opponent is the primary goal but rather a system of compromise and mutual understanding.14 Inventor of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee has a new vision in the shape of the ‘Semantic Web’, whose ambition is to draw on the wisdom of the crowds. He believes that any knowledge we could possibly need is already out there but that we require a channel for promoting interactions, that disparate pools of knowledge are useless unless they relevantly communicate with each other and only then create a valuable resource. The new process, or what could be considered a shift in culture, places emphasis initially on establishing meaning followed by the interpretation of these meanings by collaboration resulting in knowledge exchange; the internet matures into a powerful tool of critical analysis. By this logic, the Institution of Interpretation aspires to perform as a powerful tool of critical analysis within architectural design.

overleaf: 28. situation equation dissected and explained with examples

The articulation of holes within the urban grain, lurking in vacant exteriors and exclusive interiors, suggests a mesh has been torn; not a physical mesh of roads and paths but rather one of 37 invisible lines of communication. Geometry deals with this mesh of the city, multiplying and dividing as the equation prescribes, this could prove a useful tool for the fledgling institution. Edwin A. Abbott in Flatland uses geometry to construct space out of Victorian social hierarchy as the narrator, A Square, comes to terms with the possibility of a third dimension upon his encounter with a sphere. Perspective and dimensions are analogies of class and interaction, the geometry defines the prejudice. As antithesis to non-place, Marc Augé discusses anthropological place as geometric; the basis of all geometry is line, intersection of lines and point of intersection which translate into reality within the city as route, crossroads and open space. Throughout history, it is these three which have carved the shape of our cities, revealing points of strength and weakness and determining how we move and drift about them; where we stand still and where we choose to exchange, socially or economically, perhaps even those places where we cannot resist the urge to argue.


Conversations between institutions: s: social services - carehome health of vulnerable residents put at risk by anti-social behaviour at yard the very nature of t under-used + exclusive u site attracts antis social behaviour s

safety officers - fence off yard in order to prevent people accessing unsafe structures

cllr Fraser MacPherson receives complaints from local residents regarding yard as worsening eyesore

Classification of hole:

These pages attempt to dissect the equation into its parts, inserting real data from the Benvie road yard site in order to contextualise and thus explain the processes. The Situation Equation manifests a set of simple rules, one of the architect’s tools. By its nature as an equation it is abstract and makes little sense without the input of real knowledge and context, [in reference to Hejduk’s stone soup analogy p.36] in turn catalysing the necessary thinking processes. As Deleuze and Guattari warn against the abstract machine resembling what it produces, the equation is not an architectural process in itself but rather lays out a system for the insertion of architectural processes. This marks the transition from the research and analysis of communication between institutions and subsequent holes in the city to an architectural proposal through the introduction of an Institution of Interpretation. The following sections on ‘The Playhouse’ and ‘Benvie road yard’ explore the ideas communicated here through a design project. Refer to appendix II for the Situation Equation in full at a larger scale and the keys that relate to it.

Benvie road yard falls under two hole categories; sealed with barbed wire fencing and thus exclusive territory and also containing derelict structures as the site is not presently used.




Most structures in the yard are ad hoc and lightweight, as a result of fires and vandalism they are collapsing. Along with asbestos in the roof, this infers the likelihood of future development involving demolition over renovation which labels this hole with a low ‘worth factor’ to the city. The yard has fallen into a poor state of repair to the point of being unsafe for any visitor. The burnt out sheds, piles of rubbish and graffiti create a local eyesore hence this hole has a medium-high ‘anti-social magnet factor’. There are no functions currently housed within the yard with any legitimate inhabitants including workers from institutions checking up. The arson and graffiti suggest a significant number of trespassers thus the hole has a low legitimate inhabitation factor.

Knowledge pools: STORED [institutions-generic] y


COLLECTED [community-situation]






heroin addiction high crime

care home - social bored kids

NH S r wo rk ehab sh op ilit s at





The Institution of Interpretation holds the power to mediate, to make sense of things and to establish a hierarchy of power but these are not to be confused with being a figure of power for this would defeat the purpose of its baptism. It lives within what Shane terms a ‘rhizomic assemblage’ interacting amongst only polyphonic situations, which entails that no one voice dominates but as conversations between equals; the Institution of Interpretation as nomadic actor existing within a flexible network. Its status as a decentralised institution, with no singular central headquarters or place of decision making, is integral to the new institution’s moral framework. This way, it avoids barricading itself into a fortress of stagnant rules and bureaucracy, fighting hubris; in a bizarre turn of events it becomes an ‘anti-institution’. Through the processes of institutional interpretation and its intimate relationship with the community, it is exploring Shane’s notion that individual actors can influence design outcomes with new solutions emerging from the bottom travelling upwards.

The 1. Playhouse 2. 3. 4. ... x

29. montage showing Institution of Interpretation on site: responding to conditions of the hole and mediating interactions between the four institutional façades

Council University Police Health Service Interpretation

1. 2. 3. 4. ... x

Town hall College Station Hospital Playhouse

With the introduction of the Institution of Interpretation comes the birth of a new building typology, the Playhouse. The name is inspired by John Hejduk, in a sense it is his own neologism and not directly associated with a theatre for performance. In Victims, [IMAGE 29 p.34] a complex prophecy for Berlin and its troubling identity, Hejduk presents subject/object pair no.55 as Child/Playhouse and the wonder of a young child, a subject without responsibility and an imagination which can only come from an upwards looking perspective of the world. The child’s daily activities include only tasks of discovery and experiment and therefore take place in a playful space. The Institution of Interpretation captures this creativity and uses it to orchestrate change in the dysfunctional holes. [image 29] The kit of parts belonging to the new mediating institution contain the play components, behaving as glue for binding four institutional façades together; akin to how Foucault discusses the Persian garden as uniting inside its rectangle four parts which represent the four parts of the world.15 The institutional



façades, the projection of personalities on faces, represent thick inhabited zones; the premise of the Playhouse is to allow for them to interact in one place. By describing the façades as faces talking to each other, the relationships can thus be measured as either passive [solid], interactive [transparent] or collisional [bleed into each other]. The Eames’ House is an illustrative example of the complex spatial interactions occurring within one dwelling, inside and outside bleed into one another while reflective spaces slide alongside and pile on top of social spaces all along remaining distinct. [image 30] On a larger scale, 6a architects’ design for affordable housing at Savigny-Le-Temple in suburban Paris comprises five blocks of flats enclosing a communal garden, included within the scheme is the Hall, interestingly referred to in French as ‘la Salle des Residents’, which directly translates as the ‘Residents’ Room’. The architects describe it as a mediating space, a place for activities of play not accommodated by private dwellings such as sports clubs and birthday parties. If an occasion demands it, the Hall opens up completely and removes the boundary between communal garden and adjacent public park altogether. 6a have designed a series of contrasting architectural interfaces to drive a social agenda. [images 31-32]

[clockwise from left:] 30. interior view of Eames’ case study house #8 1948, a complex series of spatial interactions 31. site plan illustrating relationship between dwelling, communal garden and Hall within 6a’s scheme for affordable housing in Savigny-Le-Temple 32. site model showing position of Hall on an urban scale as transition between private garden and public park

The Playhouse is a House of Forgotten Desires, in reference to Ivan Chtcheglov’s ‘Formulary for a new Urbanism’,16 inhabited by projections of the images of play, eccentricity and secret rebellion; initial group work discussed in chapter II provides a local resource for this, in particular the space studies. This is a hybrid architectural typology that negotiates the interaction and enclosure of events. These events as coordinated by the Institution of Interpretation involve passing time for amusement, absurdity and play, absent of economic drive or any need to befriend efficiency. As early as 1953, Chtcheglov foresaw the need for architecture to be ‘modifiable’ and for any building to ‘change totally or partially in accordance with the will of their inhabitants’. This has been interpreted in this thesis not as zooming into one particular piece of architecture designed as adaptable but rather in terms of the bigger picture, the tools and systems for designing become modifiable. Each Playhouse is tailor made for the hole in the city it takes root in, for indeed each hole is a unique situation but there is a common theme tying all the different Playhouses across the city together, an identifiable type.


33. plan describing existing site conditions through a survey of flytipping, disintegrating boundaries and severed links 34. accompanying photographic survey


6 5




dead end

fragmented fence

crumbling wall

peepholes through boundaries

photograph viewpoint


dumped rubbish spots




3 5

4 6


In one fell swoop, there is a mutilation of architectural hierarchy, both spatial and social, through another type of order which appears to belie the conventional logic of institutions, a concept which ties Hejduk with Foucault. Whilst Hejduk discusses the nature of human order to integrate those things that are different and disparate together into something that is the same and in one place. Foucault considers order as a network determining how things confront each other and that “it is only in the blank spaces of the grid that order manifests itself in depth as though already there, waiting in silence for the moment of its expression.�17 The Playhouse is a manifestation of the institution/architect’s desire to apply an order to dysfunctional sites in the city which is drawn from the forces already in control. As important as the desire of humans for a certain order, so do we desire communication, going to great lengths to resolve misunderstandings and achieve clarity.

testing ground: Benvie road yard is selected as a testing ground, a real site Benvie road and context with existing conditions to react to, a canvas yard already painted for critically analysing the Institution of

35. proposed site plan and model showing Playhouse at Benvie road yard situated within reimagined communal space and dissected by new route of activity, program integrating building and nonbuilding; walls inhabited with drying laundry and perforated with gates mark the transition between private communal space and public communal space

Interpretation spatially though architectural design. This is not a next step, a mono-directional move forward, it runs in parallel with other research in the thesis and the ambition from the design project is to feed back into the situation equation and inner workings of this novel institution. The decision to use the Benvie road site, a derelict yard in the Lochee area of Dundee, is a result of the futile conversations occurring on its behalf. In its former life, the yard housed an auto-repair garage and vending machine storage, it has since disintegrated into a state of chronic disrepair and fallen victim to several fires, the asbestos roofs producing toxic fumes and forcing local residents to retreat indoors with windows closed. [images 33-34] Toxic fumes from the yard filling the air represent the poisonous use of communal space, keeping neighbours away from each other and silencing communication. A vicious circle of dialogue has ensued between Council Safety Officers, Tayside Police, Social Services, Councillor Fraser MacPherson, Tayside Fire and Rescue and local teenagers. The dereliction causes a safety hazard so the Safety Officers fence off the site, the Police pronounce this very action to create an anti-social magnet, bored teenagers disengaged with school presume the site to be unloved, break in and commit arson, each fire poses a dangerous threat to the vulnerable neighbours at Tullideph care home, the residents complain to their councillor



about the eyesore of the burnt out sheds on their road and around we go.18 The site conditions identify generic themes relating to holes with obvious institutional participation, that is, centred around a community. The design responds to the conditions that compose this anti-social magnet site entailing the ‘back face’ of the tenement, the hollow centre of an incomplete urban block where everything shouts ‘dead end’, its corners, disappearing horizons and roads that just fizzle out. The yard itself is a collage, constructed of nothing larger than the dimensions of a domestic door, in fact at one point a horizontal door is to be found as part of an enclosing wall to a shed. Presently, a population of potentially 750 residents look out though their windows to views of rusty sheds, piles of tyres and burnt out caravans. The very first task for the Institution of Interpretation as it inhabits the hole at Benvie road is to release the yard back to city, consequently, a new route appears in the urban grain. A care home for the elderly neighbours the site, a building typology on the borderline between Foucault’s crisis heterotopias and heterotopias of deviation; locked within here is the key to the success of the Playhouse. Elderly members of the community should not be plucked from society but rather have society approach them for their strengths, historic timelines and maps of knowledge embedded in memory.

36. ‘every home needs...’ a drawing by Agents of Change as part of their proposal for terraced housing in London

Analysis of Benvie road questions the value of communal exterior space, which loyally hugs blocks of tenements, when it is used as makeshift rubbish dumping tip, this is worse than being ignored completely. Soggy mattresses, rotting food and the stench of dog faeces replace laughter, gossip and neighbourly collaboration. The Playhouse proposed at this hole encompasses external communal space incorporating the dog walking, the laundry drying, a patch to grow vegetables but contributes something a little more inspiring, [image 35] seeing the familiar things in unfamiliar ways as declared by Lebbeus Woods. In their design for Crown Terrace, a development of family housing involved in the regeneration of London’s Elephant and Castle, Agents of Change have devised a ten point manifesto of ‘Every Home Needs...’ [image 36] Within this statement of belief one finds, amongst others, somewhere to sit outside and relax in peace, some potential for change and the opportunity for a naked view, the perfect balance between privacy and open views. These are all simple concepts yet refreshing in their declaration that a sense home means the same whether living



in a detached house within a rural setting or a high rise urban block of flats.

37. montages of the Playhouse at Benvie road exploring the architectural language of interpretation through models

overleaf: 38. unfolding diagram of elevations + plans showing spatial and social interactions between the façades of all four institutions 39. cutaway axonometric illustrating the Institution of Interpretation as the glue binding the Playhouse together

The design process is an exploration into the architectural language of interpretation, through three interlocking themes of dialogue-transparency-knowledge, which seek to penetrate [walk/look through] each set of institutional jargon [façade]. [image 37] By this inference, the police liberates from its intimidating thirst for details to be replaced by a human touch, a necessary transition if it to encourage communication with those individuals with information on crimes who are too intimidated by the typology of the police station. The brief encompasses program representing each institution, the raison d’être of a Playhouse lies in the interface between each function rather than hosting each function as separate entities. [image 38] Each program is the output of research into the four institutions and their agenda for future development as well as perceived conversations on the part of the Institution of Interpretation. The Playhouse acts as the whole which overwhelms the sum of its parts; Police surgery, University research gathering post and archive, Council after-school club and NHS methadone dispensary. [image 39] This is not an attraction that the whole city will be interested in flocking to, it is rooted in the community where it sits and is deeply localised, indefinitely accumulating knowledge over time.




From different corners of agenda Hejduk, Foucault and Shane have all presented captivating heterogeneous visions of the city, dense with diverse characters and activity. However, each appears to have forgotten to announce who exactly should be listening and taking notes. The passionate embrace of this ‘epoch of simultaneity’ and reaction against homogenisation inspires a fight against the risk that these empowering ideas may remain imprisoned as untapped and unconnected resources.


This thesis has been an exploration into the architect’s role within urbanism and questions its legitimacy without investigation into the invisible tugging forces of power defining the way we move about and experience the city at the scale of the individual. By reimagining the institution as theory using architecture as a tool, shifting paradigms through the Institution of Interpretation, what began life as the ‘anti-institution’ now potentially looks forward to becoming the ‘new institution’. It is no longer an enclave but wedged in limbo before flowering into an intrinsic representation of our collective ideals, still shackled by coded language, the jargon. The notion of power has long been associated with place, seats of government as façades behind guarded railings; to remain as incomplete and thus accessible, the Institution of Interpretation must embrace the city as web over nucleus. Needs and desires may change but the façades can be refilled, dynamics of interaction adjust and the Playhouse evolves; the architectural plan of each Playhouse has become the situation equation.

chapter V conclusion

Holes in the city were initially identified as those places where dialogue had failed and following a journey through nonplaces and heterotopias, have arrived at a more refined definition which recognises the essential ingredient of community and thus engagement with institutions. These are hotbeds of energy which allow the unfolding of negative space to be pieced back together into a dense hive of activity and event. Introducing the Playhouse as a new typology is the result of highlighting the architect’s role in the design of the spaces where we play, what may be misunderstood as ‘the surplus’. However, there is a realisation that all that is left after function is the most important part, human’s need for play is our forgotten desires. The ideas explored through a prototype at Benvie road yard aspire to transfer to other holes in Dundee, to other cities. To evolve further, a Situation Archive of lessons learned will need to be considered more thoughtfully, a piece of each hole extracted and linked with other samples in a museum of urban problems, an ever growing resource used as one of many design tools. Through this process, the Playhouse resists falling into the trap of becoming a memorial to the hole in the city it once was and each enjoys the freedom to become fully immersed in its community, collectively branching out into unique and intelligent offspring of the Institution of Interpretation. Equally, the new mediating institution must encourage other institutions to the table beside the four big players, at which point things get interesting as a truly ambiguous sense of power enters the circle.



1. Quote by Lebbeus Woods taken from the essay Architecture of Energy from June 2009 which features on his blog, http:// and discusses architecture as one of the systems which comprise the city and the origins of its energy. 2. As observed by John Caputo and Mark Yount in the chapter ‘Institutions, Normalisation and Power’ within the book Foucault and the Critique of Institutions in reference to Foucault’s essay entitled ‘The Subject and Power’. 3. Quote by John Hejduk taken from the essay ‘Voiceless reason. Silent Speech’ by Wilm van der Bergh featuring in Berlin Night. 4. Powers of Ten is a short film made by Charles and Ray Eames in 1977 which explores the relative size of everything in the universe under the dictum ‘eventually, everything connects’ and seeks to challenge our perspective of the world as humans. 5. In reference to, and our interpretation of, writings which featured in the Situationist International by Guy Debord and Ivan Chtcheglov among others. 6. Quote by Bernard Secchi taken from ‘the Complexities of Posturban Space’ section in the book the Urban Condition by GUST p.46. 7. ‘Distinctly Dundee’ is a phrase used by Mike Galloway, head of City Development at Dundee City Council, during a presentation to the Urban Contingencies unit. He used it to describe an ambition for the character of the waterfront masterplan proposal following research from the public, though there seemed to be a bias towards central landmarks which the space studies challenge with an emphasis on more subtle, community based areas. 8. Quote by Alexander Rodchenko as referred to in the V&A exhibition catalogue Modernism: Designing a New World edited by Christopher Wilk 9. Quote by Louis Kahn from the book What will be has always been: the words of Louis Kahn used by Wim van den Bergh in the introduction to John Hejduk’s Berlin Night p.14 in order to compare Kahn and Hejduk’s shared passion for the elusive ‘soul’ of architecture. 10. Quote by Mark Augé taken from the final chapter ‘From Places to Non-Places’ in Non-Places: An introduction to Supermodernity p.87. 11. In reference to Wim van den Bergh’s essay Icarus’ Amazement or the Matrix of Crossed Destinies which features in Hejduk’s Lancaster/Hanover Masque who analogises Hejduk’s masques with the unpredictable nature of an original conversation before any need for aim or sense comes into being and only play prevails. 12. Quote taken from Lancaster/Hanover Masque by John Hejduk. 13. Quote by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari used by Stan

end notes

Allen in the essay ‘Nothing but Architecture’ featuring in the book Hejduk’s Chronotope p.91 originally taken from A Thousand Plateaus. 14. My knowledge on argumentation theory stems from a long conversation with Professor Chris Reed in the School of Computing at University of Dundee which involved a discussion of my research through the terms he was familiar with in his field and the subsequent connections between the themes in my research and his own within the realm of computing and artificial intelligence, including some software he had designed for the Canadian court system. Professor Reed identified the Institution of Interpretation and its situation equation as a multi-agent system performing argumentation tasks in mixed initiative debate and asserts that my research lay on the interdisciplinary boundary between architecture and computer science. 15. In reference to Foucault’s definition of Heterotopias in the text Of Other Spaces published in the French journal Architecture/ Mouvement/Continuité in 1984, seventeen years after Foucault’s original lecture in 1967. Foucault’s third principle of Heterotopias discusses their capability to house seemingly opposed and conflicting events in one place, like a theatre’s stage of cinema’s screen. A three-dimensional version suggested is the garden, in particular the eastern concept of garden and how the Persians considered their sacred outdoor spaces to contain the whole world in one rectangle. On a similar wavelength to Charles and Ray Eames and their Powers of Ten, the garden as heterotopia is both intimate and all encompassing at the same time. 16. Ivan Chtcheglov wrote Formulary for a new Urbanism before meeting Guy Debord leading the assault on urbanism to be included in Internationale Situationiste #1 in 1958. Chtcheglov and Debord’s ideas share themes of stimulation and adventure in the city, attacking illusion, with the influential paper even beginning with the words, ‘we are bored in the city’ and suggests the importance of places in the city set apart for play alone. In this one essay, Chtcheglov proposes the intellectualising of urban architectural design and advocates the following: “Architecture is the simplest means of articulating time and space, of modulating reality and engendering dreams. It is a matter not only of plastic articulation and modulation expressing an ephemeral beauty, but of a modulation producing influences in accordance with the eternal spectrum of human desires and the progress in fulfilling them. The architecture of tomorrow will be a means of modifying present conceptions of time and space. It will be both a means of knowledge and a means of action.” 17. Quote by Foucault from the preface to Order of Things, p.xxii quote in more detail: “Order is ... the hidden network that determines the way [things] confront one another, and also that which has no


existence except in the grid created by a glance, an examination, a language; and it is only in the blank spaces of the grid that order manifests itself in depth as though already there, waiting in silence for the moment of its expression.” 18. Information regarding the fires at Benvie road yard as well as its possible redevelopment has been researched from Tayside Fire and Rescue Service, Cllr Fraser MacPherson and the Courier Newspaper. The following quote describes the situation and its dangers: “THICK SMOKE spewed into the sky above Lochee just after 6pm yesterday when fire took hold at a derelict garage ... just metres from a care home for the elderly ... police confirmed they had received reports of children playing at the scene ... the building’s roof contained asbestos + residents were asked to keep their windows closed to protect them against any fumes ... fire crews remained on site through the night.”


1. ‘armchairs’ - author’s scanned photograph 2. front cover for booklet made by author 3. groupwork image 4-7. author’s scanned photographs 8-10. collaboration with Stephen Mackie 11. still from film, collaboration with Stephen Mackie, Ryan McLoughlin, Brian Murphy and Neil Walkinshaw 12. author’s montages as part of groupwork 13-14. groupwork collaboration 15. author’s institution map 16-22. author’s montages 23. author’s drawings 24-25. author’s photographs 26. author’s interpretation from Bletchley Park guided visit 27. drawing and words by John Hejduk taken from Victims 28. author’s diagram 29. author’s montage 30. photograph of Eames’ House taken from the blog http:// 31-32. images by 6a architects taken from 33. author’s diagram 34. author’s scanned photographs 35. author’s diagram and photo 36. drawing by Agents of Change scanned from Kieran Long’s Hatch: a new architectural generation 37. photographs of author’s models 38-39. author’s drawings


bibliography Books: Abbott, Edwin A.; 2006; Flatland; Oxford University Press; Oxford Andreotti, Libero [Ed.]; 1996; Theory of the Dérive and other Situationist Writings on the City; Museu d’Art Contemporani; Barcelona Augé, Mark; 1995; Non-Places; Verso; London Barthes, Roland; 1973; Mythologies; Paladin; St Albans Borges, Jorge Louis; 2000; Labyrinths; Penguin; London Burns, Jim; 1972; Arthropods: New Design Futures; Academy Editions; London Calvino, Italo; 1978; The Castle of Crossed Destinies; London Pan Books; London Caputo, John; Yount, Mark; 1993; Foucault and the Critique of Institutions; Pennsylvania University Press, Pennsylvania Certeau, Michel de; 1988; The Practice of Everyday Life; University of California Press; Berkeley Curtis, Layla; 2006; Layla Curtis; Locus +; Newcastle Ford, Simon; 2004; The Situationist International: a User’s Guide; Black Dog Publishing; London Foucault, Michel; 1972; the Archaeology of Knowledge and the Discourse on Language; Pantheon; New York Foucault, Michel; 1991; Discipline and Punish: the Birth of Prison; Penguin; Harmondsworth Foucault, Michel; 1989; the Order of Things; Routledge; London Ghent Urban Studies Team; 1999; the Urban Condition: Space, Community and Self in the Contemporary Metropolis; 010; Rotterdam Hays, K. Michael [Ed.]; 1996; Hejduk’s Chronotope; Princeton Architectural Press; New York Hejduk, John; Shkapich, Kim; 1993; Soundings; Rizzoli; New York Hejduk, John; 1993; Berlin Night; NAI Uitgevers; Rotterdam Hejduk, John; 1992; Lancaster/Hanover Masque; Architectural Association; London Hejduk, John; 1986; Victims; Architectural Association; London Hejduk, John; 1985; Mask of Medusa: works 1947-1983; Rizzoli; New York Kuroda, Junzo; Kaijima, Momoyo; 2001; Made in Tokyo: Guide Book; Kajima Institute Publishing; Tokyo Lim, cj; 2006; Devices: a Manual of Architectural and Spatial Machines; Architectural Press; Oxford Long, Kieran; 2008; Hatch: the New Architectural Generation; Laurence King; London Lynch, Kevin; 1960; the Image of the City; Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Cambridge


Pinker, Steven; 1994; the Language Instinct; Penguin; Harmondsworth Rossi, Aldo; 1984; Architecture of the City; MIT; Cambridge Rowe, Colin; Koetter, Fred; 1978; Collage City; MIT; Cambridge Sadler, Simon; 2005; Archigram: Architecture without Architecture; MIT Press; Cambridge Sadler, Simon; 1998; The Situationist City; MIT; Cambridge Scott Brown, Denise; Venturi, Robert; 1972; Learning from Las Vegas; MIT; Cambridge Sennett, Richard; 1990; the Conscience of the Eye; Faber; London Shane, David Grahame; 2007; Recombinant Urbanism; Wiley-Academy; Chichester Toulmin, Stephen; 2001; Return to Reason; Havard University Press; Cambridge Wilk, Christopher [Ed.]; 2006; Modernism: Designing a New World; V&A Publications; London Articles: Crabtree, James; Chatfield, Tom; 02/2010; Mash the State; Prospect; Issue 167 60

Websites: Foucault, Michel; 1967; Of Other Spaces: Heterotopias; http:// Woods, Lebbeus; 2009; Architecture of Energy; http://lebbeuswoods. Powers of Ten; Dundee City Council; NHS Tayside; Tayside Police; University of Dundee; Councillor Fraser MacPherson;

appendix I character profiles in the Dundee Story

C/the pleaser [the tic bird] [wheelie bin] The pleaser is similar to a pair of scales but differs in the sense that she is polylimbed, existing in constant flux of attempts to seek total balance. The pleaser has far reaching arms which she uses to cast a protective wing around as many disparate groups as possible. Naturally, she cannot please everyone and some decisions which have proven suitable to some, have outraged others, this is not mark the pleaser as a victim but rather a creative who has the unfortunate habit of warping perspective. Either way, a cloth of distrust and suspicion has been placed upon the pleaser, one that the pleaser is incessantly trying to break free of. The language of the pleaser, in the air of her personality, aims to speak coherently to as many people as possible, without offence. The result of reaching and stretching as far as possible is that the intellectual content and construction of the language is spread rather thinly. This allows the language to be overtly accessible, which equally leaves it vulnerable to criticism, holes left open for others to fill with their own insecurities and paranoia. This relentless criticism and distrust has had an extraordinary effect on the evolution of the language resulting in a repetitive construction where each sentence is repeated nearly word for word, or at least summarised, directly afterwards within quotation marks. These so called quotes are usually cited to a name plucked from a list of official city representatives. The pleaser has the rather unfortunate habit of producing apathetic offspring, unusual in never leaving the womb, they move about but due to their elastic, stringy nature become entangled in each other until firstly their brains become so compressed they can no longer think independently until finally there is no room to breathe at all, at which point, a major clear out and overhaul takes place, the womb is refilled with a batch of fresh offspring, though they must nestle within the existing structures created by generations of previous litters, some enclaves are so deep, they behave like traps for the young, consequently they must spend the first part of their lives expending significant amounts energy escaping these traps. This often results in acute complacency amongst offspring.


N/the coder [prescription medicine] The coder is a maze, as deep as he is long, as high as he is wide. He is a solid quietly taunting you to have a go with a chisel, a guarded fort. Fences of metal bars and deep stone walls defend a well hidden personality and few own the patience or skills to penetrate these barriers. The coder likes to keep company with his own, a clique. It is these rigid social interactions which have allowed the coder to sustain its somewhat illegible and mysterious persona.


The language of the coder at one time was recognisable as words and sentences, so the story goes, but due to periods of concentrated abbreviation, it then evolved to a confused stew of initials sitting uncomfortably amongst grammar. Naturally, it evolved again to its present construction which most resembles a code, groupings of acronyms, initials and abbreviations, with the insertion of occasional numbers. Some ‘words’ may at first glance appear familiar but it must be remembered that this is only a superficial layer representing a far more complex definition. It is the most efficient language in existence. As a result, it is also the most inaccessible to the unfamiliar. Even those who rely on communication with the coder on a regular basis can only hope to understand a small percentage of the almost impenetrable language. This predicament leads to frustration and panicked confusion over agendas after conversations with the coder. The coder has an unusually long gestation period consisting five years of total dependence followed by the rolling birth of offspring which, although have a certain level of independence, are still extremely reliant on the nurture of their parent. If the coder does not hold onto his own, he will ensure they are safely transferred to live under the wing of another coder. This system guarantees a strong hierarchical order. Key webs of knowledge based on calculated concepts are passed on from parent to offspring which remain constant, with only small changes occurring between each generation.

U/the hoarder [the squirrel] blue crest [my soul doth magnify the lord] She is a tower, with no ground level, floating amongst the clouds. You can look out of her windows and see as far as the rest of the world. She collects and she hoards, like a charity shop, collecting knowledge and paradigms in a logarithmic fashion. Some might say she has intimacy problems – she has a preference for collaboration with a distant friend over a close one – but maybe it is simply a problem with competitiveness. ‘What’s worth doing if it’s not an intellectual challenge’ sort of thing. It is too easy to be everyone’s friend, she thinks, of course this attitude portrays itself to others as arrogance, as to be expected, and that is not to say she remains blameless in this portrayal, we have travelled with Blake from innocence to experience here. No, she is fully aware of her special qualities, that intelligence, those skills, that tenacious determination, indeed she believes this earns her power, power to make important decisions, to not be considered as inferior by anyone. To learn the language of the hoarder, you will need a good grasp of history but also an ability to extract those bits that are useful for the particular context of a particular conversation and then apply those fragments to create something new, perhaps a whole new paradigm for those well rehearsed in the language. The language is constantly evolving which is essential for the progression of the hoarder, if it were to remain stagnant, the hoarder would find herself with no purpose to live and would shrink into obscurity. There is no doubt it is confusing to the uninitiated but once you are up to speed with it, you will find it hard to imagine what language was like before, for some it becomes impossible to go back to communication with those who do not speak the language of the hoarder. At first glance, the language appears deeply serious, however, hidden amongst the formulae and the matrices, there is embedded a dry sense of humour, a wit for those willing to engage with it, a sense that the hoarder does everything because she wants to, not because she has to. In order to maintain motivation and hard work, the hoarder relies on binges of mindless stupidity as periods of rest, it is during these periods that the hoarder may make most contact with the outside world. These events can lead to the hoarder sending out mixed messages about her personality. The reproduction of offspring is vital to the hoarder’s existence, equally vital is the ability to give birth to highly knowledgeable, highly skilled and high achieving offspring, the gestation period lasts four years, at which point she propels the offspring at high speed to lands far, far away.


P/the intimidator [patrol car] The intimidator is a drill, in total panoramic rotation, punching its way in and out the enclaves and passages of the city, an all seeing eye. The buzzing sound emitted is akin to a darting bluebottle, a point of annoyance for those directly encountering the assault but somewhat ignorant comfort for those who have yet to experience the insect. The intimidator suffers from emotional problems which demonstrate themselves as a language restricted to autistic detail as well as a penchant for brutish behaviour, there is no doubt he behaves awkwardly in social situations though this does not deter him from participating in large amounts of mingling, although his behaviour may express itself as sinister, it is usually innocent curiosity and not to be seen as provocative. The intimidator’s presence is intended as a blanket of security and as a result, he is given special privileges regarding his movements around the city.


The intimidator uses language predominantly as a listing device, assigning a grid reference of information to any statement he wishes to make, a comprehensive profile. No sentence is uttered unless protected by a day of the week, date, time of day, exact geographic location and descriptions of any objects mentioned. He is reluctant to conduct business with those unwilling to embrace this no-nonsense language. There is a school of thought that the inflexibility of the intimidator’s language stems from events in the past where ambiguity has led to incompetence and humiliation. Ambiguity is no friend of the intimidator. The reproduction of intimidators is driven by the necessity to top up the chain of command, a constant flowing conveyor belt upwards correlating authority with maturity. The young are typically bursting with energy which they expel through frantic journeys across the city, these energy levels are likely to fall as the offspring age, resulting is decreased movement.

appendix II situation equation


key for hole ‘subequation’ used for establishing the existing conditions of the site in relation to key on p.68



situation equation in its entirety

key for hole classification and subsequent measurement of worth factor, antisocial magnet factor and inhabitation factor



Institution of Intepretation  

MArch thesis

Institution of Intepretation  

MArch thesis