Page 1

Liam Bonnar & Pavlina Stergiadou

Terrain Vague




Chapter I

Terrain Vague

Chapter II

Processional Architecture

Chapter III

Rhythms in the Atrophic Landscape

Chapter IV

New Architectures in the Atrophic Landscape








Within the studio’s narrative Lisbon of (Un)Sure Ground, the tale is that of conatus; the inherent instincts of self-preservation in regards of death, birth, rebirth and sacrifice. To articulate this tale a series of rituals stretch across the identified derelict coastline of Almada and within the proposed architectural moments, dealing with issues of time, movement and form. The crematorium, the cathedral, the necropolis, the flower market, the enfleurage and copper plate workshops, all become fragments/locations within the ritual. Spaces switch between private and public and interweave between inhabitable and uninhabitable as the orchestration of the funeral procession takes place.


“Terrain Vague” Ignasi de Solà-Morales


Tarkovsky’s Stalker

Chapter I


Jostled by the hectic pace of economic and social changes the urban fabric of Lisboa evolved along lines that become increasingly difficult to interpret. The city’s Post-industrial urbanization led to the gradual emergence of intermediate zones, punctuating its urban landscape. These intermediate zones exist within the city as ghosts, skeletons and carcasses portraying the previous life cycles shaping the current built fabric; voids within the dense city scape, traces of roofs and openings, exposed structures… A seminal text reflecting on derelict and abandoned spaces is “Terrain Vague” 11, a 1995 paper written by the Spanish architect Ignasi de Sola Morales. The underlying reason to refer to this termies in an exploration of its etymology. Morales’ perceives terrain as “the idea of a script of land fit for creation, with a direct corollary to the urban. Vague, is intrinsically tied to an assortment of Ideas. From German ‘woge’ which is tied to the movement of seas - we contract “movement, oscillation, instability, and fluctuation”12 and from the French “vacuus” connotations of vacancy, emptiness, and availabilitytherefore opportunity.” Thus the dual concept of a plot of land defined by indeterminacy is the key to understanding of terrain vague, which has both a spatial as well as a social connection , defined by what it is, but that being specifically defined by how the space is used. As de Sola Morales mentions, these become “spaces as internal to the city yet external to its everyday use. In apparently forgotten places, the memory of the past seems to predominate over the present.”


Post-industrial landscapes from the factory series - David Lynch


Influences on the Metanarrative

The affiliation between architecture and film can be traced in the relationships they form between space and time. Both capture movement in the eye of the spectator and by moulding space and time, they shape the ways we comprehend our world. The first physically shapes our environment by moving the spectator himself through still images, while the other shapes it mentally by moving images in front of a still spectator. Architecture rises from the twodimensional to come into being as a 3D object, while film emerges from the three-dimensional objects the camera captures to compose a 2D sequence. Filmmaker David Lynch captures through his photo series of abandoned industrial buildings “The Factory, ” the architectural compositions that echo his most relevant work. The claustrophobic attack on domesticity in Eraserhead, the looming shacks of Twin Peaks, the vortex swirl of Mulholland Drive’s nightmarish party scene, are influenced by the captured atmospheres of the black-and-white stills, depicting menacing silhouettes, gutted interiors and billowing smokestacks, using blurred light and layered textures to stretch the possibilities of photography to their limits.


Metropolis Cover


Metropolis is vertical story. In Metropolis society exists in two levels; “the first is the domain of planners and management, who live high above the Earth in skyscrapers; and the second of workers, who live and toil underground, slaves to the whistle of Metropolis’s ten-hour clock.� Two different layered realities; a dystopia and a disguised utopia. The interpretation of the film had an influence in the formation of our metanarrative concerning the two contradicting realities existing in the facing coast lines of the Tagus Estuary


“Looking back at Lisbon” View from the Almada coast line


Identifying Terrain Vague

The construction of the 25 de Abril Bridge suspended over the tagus river to connect the capital Lisbon with the municipality of Almada on the South bank of the river, ironically led to a greater disconnection of the two sites. In the absence of true connectedness between the two sites, the regional area of Almada witnessed the successive demise of its once vivid industrial life, leaving dilapidated buildings along its coast line. Visiting Souto de Mura’s office during our field investigation, we asked why would someone travel to the Almada site considering its dilapidated state. The response: Just to look back at Lisbon, which became evident once we traveled there. Albeit the demising character of the Almada Reality, it is what you see across that is truly lifeless. As the carrier of capitalism the site across evolved under commercial guidelines. It is a cultural cemetery wearing the façade of the human, with museums, caffees, taverns and public spaces running along its line. But the paradox is intensified by the observation of community within the ruins; the observation of an informal public life, where to comprehend its importance is to be concerned for its future. In response to the observation of the paradox formed by the two opposing realities of the mirroring estuaries; that of the Lisbon Reality and the Almada Reality, we identified the situation not as a problem but as an opportunity in the City of (Un)sure Ground , a Terrain Vague for architectural intervention.



City Gate Fields: 25th de Abril polarising realities

25th De Abril Bridge


Lisbon, Cais do Sodre

Almada, Cacilhas


Lisbon Reality

Almada Reality






City Gate Fields: Tettain Vague Lisbon Almada Seixal

To comprehend the extent of the bridge’s effect we travelled to Seixal, where we found its once thriving industrial region also in dereliction. Identifying the commonalities between the two sites, as well as, the Terrain Vague present within Lisbon discovered during the field investigation, we observed that these marginal, undefined places were occupied by an atmospheric ‘strangeness’. Recognizing that these atmospheres create a connection amongst the geographically distant situations of Terrain Vague, we began to develop an index through studying conditions of dilapidation through investigations of material and immaterial presences. The index was developed over a variety of mediums, specifically concerning four perceivable levels of dilapidation: At the point of demise - recently abandoned buildings; Carcass - small tears, fractures in the building skin. Where nature has begun to occupy the building Skeletons - exposed structure, bare bones of old arhitecure, a suggested framework Ghosts - voids in dense urban fabric, traces of past lifecycles, visible layering hinting at a history of constructions.



Abandoned buildings mapping



City Gate Fields: Horror vacui (”fear of empty space”) Limestone, Tiles

The beginnings of investigation into material / material history and it’s presence in Lisbon formed the initial interest in indeterminate spaces. Like most other areas of the Iberian Peninsula Lisbon is built on rich earth with layers upon layers of excavatable materials, specifically: sand, clay, basalt and limestone. The abundance of such construction materials in the immediate area meant that Lisbon, for a long time, was a city of quarrying and production with tiles in particular being an extremely cheap, easy and profitable product both for local use and export. These ceramic tiles are deeply rooted within the city’s tradition and appear in many of Lisbon’s historic buildings, having survived through years of religious, social and political influence with very little changing besides the artwork painted on the glazed surfaces. The Portuguese are said to have adopted the Moorish tradition of horror vacui (”fear of empty space”) and covered the walls completely with azulejos. This starting point of investigating the concept “horror vacui” triggered the interest in empty spaces/ghosts within the city.


Quarrying & Extraction


Import/Export: Trade roots from Lisbon



Index “kit of parts” of Atmospheres

While our work in Edinburgh saw us using a “kit of parts” to create structure on a solid base (armature), our site in Lisbon was ruinous and therefore we had to define our own armatures. We chose two; the still-standing facades of our chosen site, and the fossil cliff behind it. The proximity to the sea made it feel like our project needed to be solidly anchored to the sheer cliff, tapering to tenderly interact with the ocean whilst being solidly embeded in the cliff. Our kit of parts here (refer to light & material index) was built up of atmospheric conditions as opposed to specific physical parts. So our form was our own design although we designed with heavy consideration of material this time.













Diffusion, Delight, Mystery, Culture, Filter, Right, Poetics, E






Climate, Fulfilment, Relief, Volume, Sparkle, Health, Nature, Complex, Composition, Open, Direct, Colour, Glare, Context, Screen, Exhibition, Desire, Heat, Transparency, Spirituality, Transformability, History, Depth, Rendering, Satisfaction, Restorative, Washing, D









a Control,





n Shade,

Responsibility, Task, Occupant, Opacity, Enlightenment, Dimension, Joy, Variety, Intensity, Decoration, Emergence, Passive, Maintenance, Obstruction, Necessity, Texture, Time, Quality, Obstacles, Rhythm, E








Planning, Comfort, Seasonality, Harshness, Miser, View, Maintenance,



Light Revealing Form

Light Dematerialising Form

Light Emphasising Form

Formal uses of light/ how parts of the building reveal themselves in light. Light is not perceptible without form. Conversely, form is not perceptible without light to reveal it.



Light Revealing Space

Light Revealing Structure

Light Revealing Silhouette

Light is an architectural material, but an intangible one. It is dispersed by means of materials and their forms. Light and Structure-are intertwined. “…structure is the maker of light. When you decide on the structure you ‘re deciding on light.” Louis I. Khan



Light Revealing Space

Light Seperating Inside spaces

Light Connecting Inside spaces

The architecture of massive stone walls partition the interior from exterior. Windows, let into walls so thick as to seem a rejection of the outside world, were small and severely constructed. Such windows almost more than they allowed light to enter, shone with intense brilliance as if the very embodiment of light themselves. The brilliance of a shaft of light penetrating the profound silence of that darkness amounted to an evocation of the sublime.

“Light’s shadow and shade, its different sources, its opacity, transparency, translucency, and conditions of reflection and refraction intertwine to define or redefine space. Light subjects space to uncertainty” -Stephen Holl



Light Unifying space

Light Differentiating space

Light at the Boundary

Light constructs darkness



Light Revealing Experience

Light and Place

Light and Climate

Light and Time

Light and Task

The experiential use of light,both personal and universal; light and Place, light and climate, light and time, time and task.


Light that Directs

Light to create a Focus

Light to create Hierarchy

Light and Movement

Humans are phototropic; we respond to light. The brightest spot in a scene usually attracts our attention first. Light is a practical and poetic means of providing orientation at all scales of the built environment. It can define focus, reinforce a hierarchical organisation.


Light Revealing Meaning

Contemplative Light

Symbolic Light

Divine Light

The natural Language of light and dark is a powerful one with which to express meaning in architecture. Light in revealing architecture, simultaneously reveals the meaning in the building; be it sublime or banal.






“kit of parts” of Atmospheres

Disintegration, Degradation, Weathering,Dereliction








Degradation, gration,











Dilapidation, Filter, t















Climate, Fulfilment, Relief, Volume, Sparkle, Health, Nature, Complex, Composition, Fragmentation, etal, Ghostings, Deconstructive , Exhibition, ering,

Durability, Protective,


Coating, CovTransformability,

History, Depth, Rendering, Satisfaction, Restorative, Washing, D



g Protect,


a Contrast,


a Control,





n Shade,

Responsibility, Task, Occupant, Conncetion, Reaction, Dimension, Joy, Variety, Intensity, Decoration, Emergence, Passive, Maintenance, Obstruction, Necessity, Texture, Time, Quality, Obstacles, Rhythm,


Accelerating Ageing


Studies in Material Ageing





Unmaintained materials blur together in states of dereliction, the boundary of one seeps, penetrates or erodes into the other. What seems destructive in some cases is actually beneficial, i.e. the strength of charred wood against regular wood, because of the presence of denser carbon. The blurred edges between materials creates a more connected environment in both micro and macro scales. This was an important consideration in a site with such mixed elements which make up the “ground� of the site.





By simulating instances of advanced degradation in material, we could experiment with a variety of effects which could be used in an architectural context. We worked with ideas of sacrificial layers, designed dereliction and spaces which vary with weathering which could then be assimilated into our architecture to create specific atmospheric conditions.





With the theme of dereliction specifically occurring in post-industrial buildings, the narratives of death, decay and industry led to the development of a crematorium complex as our proposition, which would deal with the sensitive nature of death and loss but which also has industrious connotations in the furnaces, chimneys and mechanisms present within the crematoriums.





Through investigations in weathering, and the inherent feeling of demise found within the situations of Terrain Vague, we considered that the programmatic function of our architectural propositions should harmonise with the overwhelmingly morbid reality of dead buildings.







Edinburgh Excursus

Lisbon as a metropolitan anchor for the development of the studio’s narrative is investigated with Methodologies of collection, field/work, drawing and de-picting of sure and unsure ground, inform practices of design and situated design projects, culminating in the end of semester 1 that investigated the city of Edinburgh as a co-metropolis of unsure ground. Edinburgh also extremely topographic, although with a less immediately active ground, is investigated as a city of vertical and horizontal flows. The city sprawls over a fluid landscape, product of early volcanic activity and intensive glaciation. Interested in the ghosting flows; traces of the City’s life cycles, both on macro scale (crag and tail, bridges, crossings) and in micro scale (chimneys and vaults), Edinburgh is drawn as a fluid landscape, from composing historical information and fieldwork observations.


Fieldwork: Unsure Ground, City of Flows

tracing flows


Fieldwork: Unsure Ground, City of Flows

tracing flows


Fieldwork: Unsure Ground, City of Flows

tracing fault lines


Fieldwork: Unsure Ground, City of Flows

tracing fault lines



Four historical maps from the ordnance survey have been used to create a composite map to reveal the ghosting flows.

Composite map


Edinburgh City 1832



Edinburgh City 1765



Edinburgh City 1912



Edinburgh City 2011



Fiona Baxter Liam Bonnar Pavlina Stergiadou Hannah Thomas


Inventing Sites

From the composite map created after rigorous examination of the historical map layers and the geomorphologic data, Group four of studio C identified four key sites. Edinburgh ground is tested through mediations between armature and excursus, by way of the kit of parts; a methodology of taxonomy where the existing structural elements of the key selected sites are reappropriated to develope the “bare bones” propositions to exploit the spatial opportunities inherent in the city of extreme topography. Interested in the extraction, classification and reintroduction of the architectural elements comprising the city’s character (Bridge, tunnel, vaults, void and corridor) the “Kit of parts” is comprised by the “thick and thin” elements, organised according to their structural capacity.


City Chambers



National Library



Tron Kirk



Regent Bridge





Tron Kirk Kit of Parts Section


Regent Bridge Kit of Parts Section


City Chambers Kit of Parts Section


National Library Kit of Parts Section



Armature Landscape: Underground Vertical flows


Excursus Propositions


Excursus Propositions



Chapter II

Processional Architecture

Identifying the Almada coast line as a Terrain Vague, a land of opportunity, a situation that looks “from” (Almada)“to”(Lisbon), meant that the critical question setting the basis of our thesis was not whether the Almada Reality should be rehabilitated in the image of a rather deceptive strength and growth of the mirrored site - for it clearly cannot as there is an internal resistance within its informal life- but whether the Architecture proposed would be able to evolve any other integral community. Elaborating on selected parts of the atmospheric and material index led to the development of a programmatically processional architecture, which sought to accentuate, mimic or conceal existing atmospheric conditions of our identified Terrain Vague; a Crematorium, a Chapel, a Necropolis and a processional path are proposed to explore the task of architecture as a resonant amplifier. Indeed with a project requiring such sensitivity as a crematorium the decision to amplify those atmospheres already indwell at site, sought the conception of a resonant architecture, and by no means an imposing one, so our attitude in design was to use the spaces to accentuate the viewer’s emotional response, as opposed to manipulating it. Creating a mimetic journey through the, our architecture became a resonant amplifier for a subjective experience.




Furnace room and Chapel 100


Procession Entrance



Ferry entrance: Reactive mechanism 104

calibrating to the landscape: reactive mechanisms

The most notable atmospheric shift we experienced on the Almada coastline came when we entered the ground floor of a derelict factory. Though windowless, the stillness inside the building powerfully contrast to the exposure to the sea, sun and wind on the coastal road. To amplify the atmospheric shift into isolated stillness, we developed reactive enclosures which undulated with the troughs and crests of waves at the coastline, connected to buoys suspended within the intertidal zone. Excavating a ferry entrance into the site restricts boats entry to periods of high tide (twice a day) which allows entry and exit within the general funeral service and cremations time of 3hours. Whilst the tide is too low for the buoys to register movement, the enclosures remain static, signalling no entry to the buildings. 105

Necropolis Enclosing arms






Composite of Processional Architecture 111


Chapter III

Rhythms in the Atrophic Landscape

With an established investigative and propositional method developed in the previous semesters, Studio A encouraged the beginnings of refinement in both architectural theory and design as an elaboration on our current propositions, eventually working towards a degree of resolution, working thematically at a variety of scales from the minute detail up to urban and estuary strategies. Previous semesters’ field work defined the polarizing realities, life and the distinct lack-off, across the estuary. Dealing with life and death as a binary state created a contrast which was used to situate our field of enquiry and proposition. The reality, however, is that the shift between life and death is more than two states of being, it is the end of a complex entanglement of experience, rhythms and cycles.Even in death, the body begins another natural cycle of gradual decay, the funeral acts both as a ritualistic, metaphorical return to the earth and also, with the decomposition of the body, a literal one. Studio A began with revisiting the City-Field, focusing specifically on the themes connecting the body and the city. we explore the rhythms and cycles of the body and the city and how they mutually influence/ resist one another in order to elaborate on our existing narratives of design and investigation. Given that our propositions take place within our Terrain Vague, dealing with the existing derelict buildings became central to our enquiry this semester, in relation to the prevailing narratives of life cycles and rhythms present in the Almada site, our investigation focuses on environment, culture and infrastructure (tides, ferry schedules, hours of work, weather patterns, etc.).



Rhythm 1: City and Infrastructure, lending life to the city



Mapping traffic density, lending life to the city


Castells considers the human population moving into an almost exclusively urbanized culture on a global scale. The escalating cost of land forces the working class from central urban cores to the boundaries of the metropolitan area. Suburban populations attach themselves to the heart of the city through systems of transport and infrastructure. In the case of Lisbon, the Vasco de Gama and Abril de 25 bridges connect the city periphery to its centre, as well as international road and rail routes. Those unable to afford rent in Lisbon reside on the outskirts, ritualistically breathing extra life into the centre for 8hours a day then returning to the periphery of the Metropolitan area. The expansion of Lisbon was finite in the south due to the Tagus estuary, the Abril de 25th bridge (1964) was a important to the city both as a link to the southern side of the estuary and beyond, but also as a statement of it’s importance, an expansive expression of wealth and technology. The new gate to the estuary would be seen by all traders, travellers and locals entering the city. The redundancy of duplicate industry and institution on the south of the estuary has led to our Terrain Vague. Reminiscent of our Edinburgh field work, forgotten spaces lie as relic under layers of new technological eras “ the higher the value of people and places, the more they are connected into interactive networks...In the limit, some spaces are switched off, and bypassed by the new geography of networks, as is the case of depressed rural areas and urban shanty towns around the world. Splintering Urbanism”21 Castells As the modern City becomes more connected, it’s intermediate spaces deteriorate exponentially, creating a substratum of relics and deterioration 119



Major international trade ports and routes

speculated deterioration around doors and lintels


speculated deterioration around windows and sills

In it’s current state, the Almada coastline displays only the most structurally resilient of building elements. Through the extent of the Rua Du Ginjal very little remains of the finer elements of building construction, the heavy gravitational pieces remain in place in varying states of fragility, punctured and blemished by weathering or the failure and fracture of weaker structural members. Gandy’s Bank of England seemingly depicts the building in a state of decay, but was actually conceived by drawing the building as if it were under construction. Either way the effect is the same in that the strongest structural pieces are displayed. Supplementary to the wax degradation video, a series of speculative deterioration drawings were put together in an effort to outline the varying levels longevity in the built elements of the coastline façades.

Joseph Michael Gandy’s drawing of John Soane’s Bank of England (1830) 123


simulating building atrophy

The inherent malleable/fragile qualities of wax in its different states made it ideal as a representational tool in designing degradation. The ease in which it’s shifts states allowed us to record the changes in material in time and highlight our strategies of resisting and encouraging points of deterioration.



Rhythm 2: the Synodic cycle, shifting tides



Revisiting reactive mechanisms

As the building skins of the Atrophic Landscape decay, nature holds more of an influence over the architecture and it’s interior. Supporting walls worn down to permeable, fragile skins by driving wind and waves allow in enough light and rainwater to vegetation to grow but still provide enough shelter for the buildings to occupied by local wildlife. Designed openings in the homogeneous stretch of façades that make up the Rua do Ginjal coastline test the effects of intentional exposure to the tides, weather and sensory experiences of the estuary. In puncturing parts of the existing, we could potentially harmonise the programmatic functions of our architectural propositions with some identifiable rhythms of the estuary and surrounding areas. Flour and Tile factories are abundant along the Estuary edge because of the functional use of water in both industries; water wheels and cooling, respectively. The opening of the usually distinct coastal edge blurs lines between architecture and the body of water, encouraging a harmony between the programmatic functions of the building with the tidal rhythms of the estuary. The use of water wheel allows for almost autonomous process flour production, investigation into tide registering mechanisms began with similarly autonomous which could be grammatically linked to the Crematorium.


Autonomous algae harvesting system concept development 130

Fully tensed end of synodic month, waxing crescent moon

Autonomous algae harvesting system working drawing

Fully submerged: beginning of synodic month, waning crescent moon


visualizing tidal data

*diagram consistant with tidal information of November 2013 132

diagram consistent with information with tidal information of November 2013

determining tidal range and synodic rhythm 133 determining tidal range and synodic rhythm

necropolis, excavation & shifting paths 134


high tide | urn viewing space, exclusion, enclosure 136

low tide | urn interaction, accessibility , undulating enclosure


138 Peak and trough: necropolis, synodic enclosing mechanism



Rhythm 3: the Circadian rhythm, bloom, flourish, wither


Linnaeus’ flower clock functions on a full Circadian cycle, 24hours of sequentially blooming flowers


Circadian Rhythm

“any biological process that displays an endogenous, entrainable oscillation of about 24 hours”* Working with the narratives of rhythms and the body, the most common and most consistent rhythm is that of daily routine, especially within the modern metropolitan area. Such is the ..... of the man-made City that our biological rhythms have been tailored to it, altering our natural behaviour. Whilst the metropolitan population live within 24-hour cycles, elements of nature, unaffected by the urban sprawl, function on their own 24 hour cycles Naturally occurring Circadian rhythms are symbiotic with elements out-with the scale of the city, rather with the rotation of the earth and solar time. An example being the bloom and wilt of flowers, which, being synonymous with the ritual of funeral, commemoration and also trade, became the focus of the next connected programme in the Atrophic Landscape. The Almada’s soil falls into hardness zone 7, and exposure to wind (beneficial for pollination) and extensive sunlight is deemed an excellent environment for flower growth. With an abundance of potential public squares within the building shells of the coastline, the proposed flower market was intended to encourage the growth of community within the Atrophic Landscape through public gathering, trade and potential import and export. Perfumes and soaps are relatively easy to synthesize from excess flower petals from the market and are usually used present in Chapels and Crematoriums. consistant with the micro narratives life cycles and industry- a group of workshops became an additional programme in the Almada scheme.



Bloom and Wilt: flower market stall, Circadian opening mechanism 144

flower market 145


distillery and enfleurage (soap making)



Atrophic Landscapes

As an abstract concept, a specific locale, a subject of literary and architectural intervention, “Atrophic Landscapes� particularly deal with the architecture of Circadian and Synodic rhythms. Atrophic Landscapes open in the dichotomy of what we perceive as city and nature and the thesis proposes the possibility of a mortal architecture that rises into ruin before it is built, rather than fall into ruin after it is built. In testing design within the Terrain Vague we developed an architectural language and an attitude towards the existing, but when we begin to calibrate our series of connected architectural fragments, we are to an extent taking ownership of this Atrophic Landscape. By regarding the landscape as a physical object, as opposed to a series of predominating concepts, we begin to deal with the actuality of the armature. Calibrating our architecture within a physically degrading coastal landscape required a less speculative attitude towards context (existing structure retention, environmental and construction strategies.). Testing architectures in place also led to a consideration of the potential impact of both short and long term occupation of the Almada site; development of community, trade, new transport and infrastructure routes/schedules, maintenance, cycles of use and building lifespan (sacrificial layers, designed degradation or structural longevity). Our architectural fragments work between points of assimilating themselves with the rhythms and cycles present on the Almada coastline, and points of autonomously resisting them to create a distinct contrast between the public and private spaces within the propositions.



Occupation map of Atrophic Landscape 151

circadian gateway conatus pathway

enfleurage close enfleurage close enfleurage close

flower market

public archive, cafe

Necropolis, Columbarium

copper plate etching workshop



ferry entrance

procession entrance



procession to necropolis

procession to necropolis

procession to cremat

procession to crematorium

algae pods

procession to necropolis

algal bloom

procession to coastlin


crematorium cafe










157 Rhythms within the Atrophic Landscape


Circadian Rhythm



Circadian Rhythm



Circadian Rhythm


164 necropolis, exploded axo

technical section


166 procession and crematorium, exploded axo

167 technical section

168 harvesting facility, exploded axo algae

169 technical section

Tell-tale material Location: Rua Santa Justa, Lisbon Focus: Traces in preserved building relic Themes: Ghosts in the city, previous use, ruin as relic, framing light

img _ 0177

Index of Conditions of Ruination, sample 170

Chapter IV


Design Studio H began with a critical reflection of the first three semesters with the intention to identify prevailing narratives present within the Integrated Pathway. The narratives would be highlighted as key seams of enquiry running through our thesis work, but also give us an idea of the themes and investigations we would be leaning towards in the beginnings of Studio H. Considering the nature of the work ahead (proposition resolution, thesis production) we thought returning to, auditing, and elaborating on our existing light and material indexes would be a good start to elaborating on our process of design in the Atrophic Landscape. The Index of the Conditions of Ruination is in some ways a summation of the atmospheric, light and material indexes, its focus being on the perceived situations which were specific to our design development process. The prelude to Design Studio H was a test this elaborated design methodology, a fleshing out of the existing Crematorium design.


Index of Conditions of Ruination 172


Index of Conditions of Ruination 174


Crematorium design development 176

Crematorium concept perspective 177


Testing a new design methodology 179


Chapter IV

New Architectures in the Atrophic Landscape

The Thesis’ thematic framework anchored the Atrophic Landscape of Almada as an armature to test speculative propositions, that were set out and explored through the Metanarrative Terrain Vague. The final chapter of this book reaches the conclusion of the Thesis through the development of six new established architectures that continue the momentum and trajectory of the previous work. The grammatical rules of the architecture, dealing with the project’s sensibilities, evolved through the light/material/conditions of ruination index and the modelling methodologies applied. There is an intentional juxtaposition of unlike/contrasting materials in nature and structural elements,and a deliberate tension stemming from the generic nature of materials and the abstract conceptual nature of the project as a whole. Cast wax and cast plaster/concrete, as separate explorations in modelling, express our two attitudes of addressing the Atrophic Landscape, first the landscape as a deteriorated, yet solid, anchor and second the landscape shifting with time. Wax is used to form the ruin as a relic, held in place to represent an architecture, which was intended to be sacrificial. The fragility of the material’s nature translates into the delicate state of the ruins. The (Un)sure ground bellow the ruin is formed by wax casts in water. Working between the two materials, we also worked between two scales; 1:100 concrete,1:50 wax and plaster models. On a scale larger than that which can be understood in-situ, the steep topography running directly behind the man-made coastline, becomes evident in the sectional 1:100 concrete models, projecting the solidity of the man-made coastline and the severity of the surrounding topography. The sectional models show how the new architectures sit in the land and the respective heights and scales of the propositions in relation to the existing landscape 181


The map was constructed with information from Erick Fisher’s maps of photographic activity, revealing peoples’ movement in the city. Using only the geotags of photos uploaded to Flickr and Picasa, what is essentially emerges is maps of human interest. Using the time stamps and distance traveled between a user’s pictures the picture taker’s mode of transportation is assumed by the time lapse between 2 geotags of the same user. The yellow views are by locals, the red by tourists and the blue by either The map is used as a tool to re-consider and develop the concept of “looking back at Lisbon” within the architectural propositions. Creating the thread layer allowed us to extract the views from the sites relevant to the line of inquiries of our Thesis; Terrain Vague. As expected, it was revealed that the most focal point of geotags was the 25th de Abril bridge.



Speculative Morphologies



between wax and concrete

Using cast wax and cast concrete as separate investigations in modelling, we can express our two attitudes to the Atrophic Landscape: - The landscape as a deteriorated, yet solid, anchor - A landscape shifting with time Working between the two materials, we also work between two scales. The detail achievable with wax lends itself to more zoomed in models so it was used to model the existing facades in the 1:50 spacial models. held in place but representing an architecture which was intended to be sacrifical or seen as a relic. With the steep topography running directly behind the man-made coastline, concrete would represent the solidity of the manmade coastline and the connecting geology, sectional models would be produced to show how the new architectures sit in the land and the respective heights and scales of the propositions in relation to the existing landscape.


Casting the armature 188



representing temporality


Sculpture Court Arrangement 192


Demise, Carcass Skeleton, Ghost video Tests of tidal openings, shifting pathways Light and material index: Edinburgh to Lisbon Plan chest: situating the enquiry, Terrain Vague Design development process Deteriorating faรงades video. model and drawing Necropolis - 1:50 detail model Chapel - 1:50 detail model Design Report Atrophic Landscapes: 1:500 location model Rhythms in the Atrophic Landscape: time drawing Atmospheric perspective render 1:100 landscape sections Atrophic Landscapes: Folio of building plans




r tille


M wer Flo

t e ark

el Chap rvesting nd algae ha Procession a

Crem atoriu m






Placing of the Urns: The point of departure for this architecture was to resolve the psychological build up that the end of the procession imposed. To that end the aspiration was to alter the perception of space and location. The architecture blurs the line between the manmade coastline and the waterscape by allowing water in site. Once entered the space on low tide, one can approach the urn holders situated as gallery center pieces, aligned with the thick derelict walls to “Look back at Lisbon”. Implementing “Light Revealing Meaning” from the Index to design for the situating of the commemorative copper plates in the niches of the thick concrete walls angled to let direct sunlight, created an immaterial frame.



atmospheric perspective








The distillery, enfleurage and etching workshop unfolds around a new monolithic core which also acts as the main circulatory spaces through the building. From the concrete core stems the skeleton supporting of the workshops walkways, leading down to the excavated basement area where the perfume distillery and enfleurage station are located. An open stair at the East end of the building acts as a multi-storey light well , an opening to allow in direct sunlight for effectively drying the grid of enfleurage panes. Buildings in dereliction devolve the boundaries of normative circulation. A wall once there to separate spaces, falls to connect them. An unexpected hole in the facade’s fabric offers a view in the private rooms. This playful flexibility is mimicked by the new architecture, connecting spaces visually that are not necessarily to be connected programmatically.




er M Flow




The flower market operates with a programmatic circadian rhythm. The mechanisms holding the fabric shaders borrow the flower’s rhythm (sonchus oleraceus), opening at 10 am and shutting at 4pm which is also symbiotic with the beginning of the funeral service and the later placing of the commemorative plate and urn. Located in an open square, framed by the deteriorated facades of a steel shop, the flower market stimulates local trade during its opening hours and once closed any excess or unwanted petals are taken to the distillery and enfleurage workshops which lie adjacent. The rear site boundary is built of a monolithic retaining wall which offers solar shading and structural solidity as an armature from which the floor of the cafe is anchored from. Flower and seed fridges lie underneath the cafe floor, kept cool away from direct sunlight and lit from above by a three story void space, the structure of which the cafe bar is built around.




nce Entra


el Chap



atmospheric perspective




and algae




The algae harvesting facility was developed as secondary architecture: one which has it’s place in the narrative of rhythm and cycles but its main function is harvesting algae bi-products to be used in programs across the Atrophic Landscape.. Using reactive mechanisms, the device works autonomously, submerging and extracting the permeable algae growing membranes from the estuary water in harmony with the synodic cycle (28days) to then be used in the extraction of bio - oil (to fuel the crematorium oven) and algae flake (dry flakes, compacted and used as air filters). The algaesaturated membranes are ran through straining machines to extract the oil, the membranes are then placed under dry heat to crystallize surface algae particles which are scraped of by hand and compressed into aluminium frames to become air filters. The actual algal bloom occurs naturally in the highly oxidized estuary water, although its growth is considerably accelerated by exposure to sunlight, buffering of tides (hence collected in pods) and feeding on carbon dioxide. The processional route lies just behind the algae harvesting factory. Modular in construction the pathway is built up of 3 metre spans of reinforced, ribbed concrete slab angled at 9 degree ascent between the Chapel and Crematorium. The slabs are supported on pile driven concrete foundations which the steel side walls are hinged from, supported laterally by steel members running the length of the processional route which vary and adapt depending on the topography.


Crem a






We did not want to offer an environment aspiring to further anesthetize the already fragile emotional state of the grievers, rather we tried to form an architectural space conductive to contemplation on the situation as it is. Indeed a crematorium is a space for people in grief that have no moments of genuine rest. To assume so would not be pragmatic. Comprehending that even the most innocent settings bare the likelihood to cause emotional stress and evoke painful reminders of the loss, we thought that they key was the processional program. From the procession path you enter a garden space, partially enclosed by the structure stemming perpendicular from the Gatekeeper’s tower as stretched arms to reach Back to Lisbon, holding the solitude rooms and encouraging vine growth to flourish into a shading veil.





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Terrain Vague  
Terrain Vague  

By Liam Bonnar and Pavlina Stergiadou