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Design Portfolio Design Design Portfolio Portfolio


Rory Corr Mackintosh School of Architecture Glasgow School of Art Thesis 2010-11 A Place for Art 101 ReykjavĂ­k Design Portfolio


A Place for Art, Reykjavík Reykjavík’s recent history has seen unprecedented boom and epic bust. At this point, even after a change in government, the country is in danger of becoming led solely by bankers and politicians of questionable fortitude. It is important here to reaffirm the importance of artists and intellectuals and their role in the establishment of a future path. This years study begins with an open-ended urban strategy for the brownfields of 101. It is an informal series of propositions for a kind of development and densification particular to this place, creating potential for future unknown inhabitations. This study results in the inhabitation of a significant empty site in 101 Reykjavík. On the edge of the coherent town centre, towards the sea, it is a key site in Reykjavík City Council’s plans for major densification and development. Objects like characters in a performance are orchestrated across this piece of ground. The Thesis acts as a family of buildings which establish an order in a disordered place. The scale of the place is reflected in the arrangement of four smaller buildings (with a connecting undercroft), which establish a conversation and hold a new piece of urban space. A family of rooms, each with complementary characters brought about by their light, size or aspect, are loosely arranged so that their edges are ambiguous - spaces, activities and art works bleed into one another. The project is conceived as a big house for these local artists, with a character that is robust and simple, intimate and accommodating. It is a house to be explored and discovered by visitors as they move vertically between floors or horizontally across the territory. The ambition is to begin a constellation of relationships which can be built upon by others in future years. The Thesis is a moment of calm in a place in flux, establishing an architecture of civility, a setting for performance and discourse. The interstitial spaces are treated as a meeting ground, as territory with debatable boundaries - the liminal. These spaces extend into the city, becoming part of an example for the development of 101 Reykjavík.


Reykjavík is a city of houses, as opposed to monuments. Yet the challenge remains: how to build a building of civic importance responding both to the scale of the place and the nature of the institution. It is my contention that cultural buildings are still a very good way to initiate redevelopment and to give focus to a place. Cultural buildings still have the ability to embody the spirit of a place at a particular time. However, one must question the qualities of the kind of cultural buildings which cities tend to build for themselves today. 14 years after Bilbao, city councils remain blindly infatuated with it as the model of cultural building-as-regeneration catalyst. Any intelligent onlooker immediately recognises this as fallacy, but yet they continue to appear, with architects happy to embrace the commissions. This thesis rejects these building types as superficial exercises which lack power, poignancy or intelligence, instead merely signifying a set of touristic and economic figures. Reykjavík is at a crossroads - a self-consciousness about their perception to the rest of the developed world leads to cultural buildings of this unsightly ilk. The city’s planners envision a kind of Scandi-super-nation - dense and urban(e). This notion seems to reside in the past - in the optimistic billionaireled 2000s. Perhaps there is a more interesting and engaging approach. It seems the artist is best positioned for objective social response. Many of the raw materials for artistic engagement are in place, but are somehow disparate. All the city needs is some focus: a group of artistic minds in conversation to relearn and redefine what this city and country might be. Reykjavík, and more specifically 101, is on the cusp of three things: City-ness; forced reassessment of national identity; and new generation of artists. It is thought that to tie these three things together in a new building is an interesting Thesis proposition. We can see that 101 as a microcosm of greater Reykjavík is an urban project still in the process of being developed. It is incompleteness on a city scale. Without any cohesiveness, we find a place that is an accumulation of edges, frantic in its nature. There is a particular character to 101 born out of its scale and its large amount of residual space - perfect for meandering through. This porosity is an enjoyable part of 101, but the challenge was how to retain this character but to densify and regenerate in an engaging manner. This ground, once identified, gives rise to a number of possibilities. For the purposes of

this Thesis it was thought that the most interesting exercise would be to focus on a single building which would somehow point to a set of rules to which future buildings of 101 might adhere. The program is a Cultural Centre for the local artists of 101 to inhabit as an open, informal, but significant cultural venue. But what was considered more interesting was the creation of a new Civic Space, which could set a precedent for useful and focussed public space within an overall looser territory. It is a house for artistic performance and human interaction, which becomes part of a wider landscape of external spaces and internal gallery spaces, the edges of which bleed into one another: ‘A finely-textured tapestry of internal and open city rooms.’ Within the chosen piece of ground a process of clearing, excavation and levelling are undertaken. The ground is demarcated clearly as a datum line in gently sloping landscape. There are controlled relationships to the street above and to the space below. The buildings loosely enclose the ground and a space of room-like proportions is established. The new urban space is designed as a response to the specific grain of 101 Reykjavík. The informality of the surrounding context is referenced and a spirit of looseness is encouraged. Buildings slip to subtly provide shelter while slipping past on another to allow views through, most significantly to the sea and the mountains of Esja to the north. There is a reconciliation between this arrangement and one that might still retain a civility or city-ness. Façades are composed with an idea about decorum, sobriety and presence. The result is a city space directly specific to 101 Reykjavík. The buildings are built from the contextual materials of 101, thin concrete and sheet metal. These materials mark the distinction between primary and secondary buildings, announcing a hierarchical relationship within the ensemble. The volumes are simply enclosed, each employing a variant on the theme of Frame-and-Lining. The existing building’s concrete frame and thin concrete cladding are echoed in the Southern building, while in the East and West ‘servant’ buildings the frames are steel with stainless steel and timber linings. The idea of a ‘family’ of buildings and a ‘family’ of rooms is picked up on and subtly disposed throughout the four buildings in related but differing ways. Each buildings orientation and light is played up with regard to the specific use within.


101 Reykjavík


Chosen Ground


This Thesis is also about the relationship between Art, Architecture and the City. It is about being mindful of lifespans [diurnal, seasonal and annual] of both the rooms and the external space. It is about enjoying the possibilities of future inhabitations, and how a framework might be reappropriated in the future. In this sense it is, perhaps most profoundly, about the limits of architecture.

Landspace is the nature of nature. Being horizontal, landspace is a space of communication. It is a meeting ground. Florian Beigel A house is a collection of good rooms.

Florian Beigel

One must consider ones actions as laying a seed, creating a catalyst, or beginning a process of which one can only partially predict the result. There is an aesthetic economy, the aim of elegance, doing little with good things. Florian Beigel From this point on I came to regard architecture as the instrument which permits the unfolding of a thing. Aldo Rossi Environment sustains us as creatures; the landscape displays us as cultures. DW Meinig


North

North is a place of extremes but also of wonders. True North is unreachable they say, but despite or perhaps because of this, it is also the place that man can make his soul. The health of the eye seems to demand a horizon. We are never tired as long as we can see far enough. Emerson North is the direction on the map by which we orient ourselves. It is also the direction taken throughout history by the adventurous, the curious, the solitary and the foolhardy. Peter Davidson, The Idea of North


ReykjavĂ­k, Iceland

A landscape takes form. What is it that gives this form to the landscape? We can read material layers of the landscape, as in a painting. Lava-formed expanse cooled by the crisp Northern air, unsuitable for many a tree, crop and flower; along with impressive glaciers occupying the central highlands of the island. The dwellings of farmers, arranged on periphery for ease of transport, access to better soil and the sea - both sources of food. The rural clearances to ReykjavĂ­k leave voids in the countryside, while population a village city not equipped with the sensibilities of urban life. Land is taken over and a great expanse is built upon to house very few. Modernisation brings Globalisation brings a ruthless consumerist society, building more and driving more, disrupting any pre-existing rhythm of the place. Traces of history are still present and are significant in any place-(re) making that may occur.


Monument & Landscape

Destruction and demolition, expropriation and rapid changes in use as a result of speculation and obsolescence, are the most recognisable signs of urban dynamics. But beyond all else, the images suggest the interrupted destiny of the individual, of his often sad and difficult participation in the destiny of the collective. This vision in its entirety seems to be reflected with a quality of permanence in urban monuments. Monuments, signs of the collective will be expressed through the principles of architecture, offer themselves as primary elements, fixed points in the urban dynamic. Aldo Rossi, The Architecture of the City Beigel’s work has always pursued his concept of ‘landscape infrastructure’, where the landscape is built first and helps to define a non-programmatic urbanism born of geography and typology. The Saemangeum proposal takes ARU’s compelling ideas to an epic scale. Beigel and Christou’s work on what they call ‘city structures’ aspires to building in the flexibility over time as found in the architecture of Venice, Barcelona or Georgian London. Thus the appearance of fragments of Barcelona’s Cerdà grid on the harbour island and Cambridge University’s quadrangles on the long, central island. Review of Architecture as City


National Psyche in State of Flux

Krapp: Perhaps my best years are gone. When there was a chance of happiness. But I wouldn’t want them back. Not with the fire in me now. No, I wouldn’t want them back. Beckett, Krapps Last Tape Nationality & locality are not notions one gets out of easily. To find escape routes, one needs a map or overview of the (mental) territory. Artist-led redefining of society - Is it possible? Picasso; Malevich; Amis; Courbet; David; Manet; Baudelaire; Delacroix; Diderot; Voltaire; Rousseau; Miller; Tom Wolfe; Kerouac? Everything leads us to believe that there is a certain state of mind from which life and death, the real and the imaginary, past and future, the communicable and the incommunicable, height and depth are no longer perceived as contradictory. Breton A post-crash monument to introspection.


Emptiness


Thesis Proposition

6th December 2010

This Thesis is a mirror and a window. It is a sequence of spaces designed to elicit a response. It is an apparatus for a society in limbo. A post-crash monument to introspection. A sequence of spaces which reaffirm the position of Art as critical to a nation’s identity. Iceland is an adolescent nation, and self-consciousness has led to a preoccupation with representation, outward appearance and superficial impressions. Most artistic disciplines use appearance and impression in a positive way to set up metaphor and embodied meaning. I am interested in working with these things to propose a new kind of space for artistic discussion. Objects like characters in a performance are orchestrated across a piece of Reykjavík. Each of these objects house ‘Performance Spaces’ - that is to say, spaces for outward projection of ideas. These Performance Spaces are conceived as a sequence of rooms accommodate Painting, Sculpture, Theatre, Film, Installations, Poetry, Photography, Music, et cetera. They are spaces which substitute superficial mediated imagery for profound architectural experience. Aspects of the Icelandic psyche - Isolation, Melancholia, Independence and Rebirth - are explored through space and material. Two responses are sought - one from the artists, and one from their audience who are passed through these spaces. We continue this ritualistic process: artist-audience; artist-audience; artist-audience until we reach a higher understanding of who and what we are.

Lectures

Theatre

Painting

Music Photography Poetry

Sculpture

Installation

Painting Installation

Workshop

Film

Workshop Music

External Performance

Theatre

External Performance

Film

Lectures

Sculpture Photography Poetry

Program

Painting 400m2 Installation Space 400m2 Photography 150m2

Theatre 250m2 Film 250m2 Poetry 100m2

Music 200m2 Sculpture 200m2 Lectures 150m2 2100m2

Workshop Space 400m2 Admin. 200m2 Circ. 400m2 2 External Performance 600m 3700m2


Characters in Conversation

The Intellectual Construct

Tapestry


Tapestry


The process of casting - the imprint of memory, of a process, or of a way of life. Casting entails a kind of mapping of the remembered onto the present. Sergison Bates

Study Models of Abstracted Spaces for Art Performance


Charged voids


The particular interest at this juncture was in the creation of a monument. I was interested in not only how one could make a physically monumental piece, but also how rooms might also have a monumental feel, and how external spaces might be charged through this monumentality. There was an interest in a kind of Rossian space, simple and pure. Plaster models were made of abstracted spaces, with single sources of light, sloping floors, oppressive ceilings. At this point the interest was in orchestrating a series of these monuments across a piece of ground - some knitted into a streetscape, others standing alone. A family of monuments, thereby increasing their symbolic surface-area and visual influence.


A Reading of ReykjavĂ­k

Material remnants

Liminal


Tapestry

Views through


Limited routes and the internal

North-south axes


Consolidation to single site


Thesis Proposition

8th February 2011

Reykjavík’s recent history has seen unprecedented boom and epic bust. At this point, even after a change in government, the country is in danger of becoming led solely by bankers and politicians of questionable fortitude. It is important here to reaffirm the importance of artists and intellectuals and their role in the establishment of a future path. This years study begins with an open-ended urban strategy for the brownfields of 101. It is an informal series of propositions for a kind of development and densification particular to this place, creating potential for future unknown inhabitations. This study results in the inhabitation of a significant empty site in 101 Reykjavík. On the edge of the coherent town centre, towards the sea, it is a key site in Reykjavík City Council’s plans for major densification and development. Objects like characters in a performance are orchestrated across this piece of ground. Each of these objects house ‘Performance Spaces’ - that is to say, spaces for the outward projection of ideas. These Performance Spaces accommodate Painting, Sculpture, Installations, Theatre, Film, Poetry, Photography, Music. They are spaces which substitute superficial mediated imagery for profound architectural experience. This Thesis is engaging in an architecture of arrival and transition. These spaces arranged as a sequence in four buildings is interesting architecturally, establishing a conversation and holding as it does a piece of urban space. It is a moment of calm in a place in flux, establishing an architecture of civility, a setting for performance and discourse. The interstitial spaces are treated as a meeting ground, as territory with debatable boundaries - the liminal. These spaces extend into the city, becoming part of an example for the development of 101 Reykjavík.

Program

8th February 2011

Spaces loosely organised by size and specific qualities. Space 01: 1000m²

Flat Floor, Tall (10m), North Light, Northerly View (Esja). Smaller South- Easterly View (Hallgrímskirkja), Served by Large Lift from Workshop. Use: Primary Installation Space; Large Painting Exhibitions; Large Performance - Can be added to with temporary seating.

Space 02: Raked Floor, 200 person informal Auditorium Space (no fixed seating), Modest Stage, Basic Dressing Rooms and Backstage, No Flytower, Top light over stage (openable) Use: Theatre; Film; Dance; Lectures 800m² Space 03: Roughly square space in plan, More intimately-scaled volume, 4m high, Single type of light (Clerestory? - Closable). Use: Poetry, Photography, Painting, Small Sculpture 500m² Spaces 4&5: Two Small-Scale Performance Spaces, Rectangularly-proportioned, south- facing, multiple sources of light provide multiple options for reappropriating the space, taller space - 7m. Use: Sculpture; Medium-Scale Installations, Medium-Scale Music, Small-Scale Theatre & Film, Larger Painting & Photography 2 x 350m²


Diagram Progress


Massing Study Models December ‘10


Testing Approaches


poss Facade ibly & a used djoin for ing e Exte xte rnal rnal Perfo spac rma e nce

Wo

rksh Space 0 op i 1 nB asem

ent

Spac

e 05

Adm

in e

Public Space

S partia pace 02 lly su nken

Space Space 03 04

Storage & Services etc in Basement below Public Space (dashed line)

Potential Viewing Tower

tc


It was at this point the ensemble of four buildings about a new public square was decided upon. The programmatical organisation was to go through many iterations, but the model of the space and its adjoining façades (left) was now recognised to be the primary focus of the Thesis project. The scaling of these facades, and the positioning of the built volumes was felt to be almost correct. The Thesis is an ensemble of ‘Urban Figures’; the civic facades, the public square, the urban staircase and the belltower all familiar motifs of memorable civic space which I was keen to invoke here in a place which is largely devoid of those things.


Emptiness on a City Scale

The Intellectual Construct

Informal Performance


Precedent Studies Viipuri Library: Alvar Aalto Staatsbibliothek, Berlin: Hans Scharoun Meeting House Square, Dublin: O’Donnell & Tuomey Pino House: Alberto Campo Baeza Stortorget, Kalmar: Caruso St John YoulHwaDang Book Hall, Korea: Florian Beigel + ARU


Viipuri Library

1935 - Alvar Aalto A subtly shifting internal landscape. A clear parti between primary and secondary accommodation. Sophisticated sectional arrangement. Ambiguous edges between rooms; distinctive but simple layer of top lighting.


Staatsbibliothek Berlin

1963 - Hans Scharoun A rich and varied landscape of platforms, plateaus and balconies. An intimacy achieved within a large volume. A building read as a large house, within which one can explore and meander across a loose ‘territory.’


Meeting House Square Dublin

1991 - O’Donnell & Tuomey The surgical insertion of a piece of contextual public space as catalyst for regeneration. The surrounding of new square with cultural buildings. A distinctive space of room-like proportions is created, with a feeling of insularity. The activation of the square by both the surrounding buildings and regular activites. The gradual changing of

scale from street to square to foyer to gallery.


La Congiunta

1992 - Peter M채rkli A stoic monument in an expansive landscape; and internal bunker for contemplation and intimacy. Simplicity of material, single light sources, direct procession. Buildings offers a rough familiarity, robust against the intricate sculptures.


Pino House, Madrid

1999 - Alberto Campo Baeza Subtle richness in composition of volumes in both plan and section. Interesting interplays of side, top and reflected light into largely introspective rooms. Understated articulation of surfaces and materials.


Centre for Contemporary Art, Rome

1999 - Caruso St John An Art Centre inhabiting existing structures - interventions are minimal and an overall sense of continuum is established. ‘Constellations’ of relationships are encouraged at a variety of scales across the piece of ground.


Stortorget Kalmar

2003 - Caruso St John A public offering: a finely textured civic carpet as territory which holds significant city buildings. Space conceived as a room with urban walls. The square is a place for reverie and informal encounters, and as such the lines and patterns pick up significant moments across the square without resorting to classical motifs.


YoulHwaDang Book Hall, Korea

2009 - Florian Beigel + ARU One of a number of structures within a larger plan for an undeveloped piece of landscape. A cultural enclave treated in a civic manner. Interested in relationships of scale - internal to external; facades of a certain civic order, simplicity in spaces. A house of good rooms.


Thesis Proposition

14th March 2011

Reykjavík’s recent history has seen unprecedented boom and epic bust. At this point, even after a change in government, the country is in danger of becoming led solely by bankers and politicians of questionable fortitude. It is important here to reaffirm the importance of artists and intellectuals and their role in the establishment of a future path. This years study begins with an open-ended urban strategy for the brownfields of 101. It is an informal series of propositions for a kind of development and densification particular to this place, creating potential for future unknown inhabitations. This study results in the inhabitation of a significant empty site in 101 Reykjavík. On the edge of the coherent town centre, towards the sea, it is a key site in Reykjavík City Council’s plans for major densification and development. Objects like characters in a performance are orchestrated across this piece of ground. Each of these objects house ‘Performance Spaces’ - that is to say, spaces for the outward projection of ideas. These Performance Spaces accommodate Painting, Sculpture, Installations, Theatre, Film, Poetry, Photography, Music. They are spaces which substitute superficial mediated imagery for profound architectural experience. This Thesis is engaging in an architecture of arrival and transition. These spaces arranged as a sequence in four buildings is interesting architecturally, establishing a conversation and holding as it does a piece of urban space. It is a moment of calm in a place in flux, establishing an architecture of civility, a setting for performance and discourse. The interstitial spaces are treated as a meeting ground, as territory with debatable boundaries - the liminal. These spaces extend into the city, becoming part of an example for the development of 101 Reykjavík.


It is intended that the Thesis be viewed as a public offering more than just another series of spaces for viewing art. An interest in the ubiquitous Cultural Centre, not necessarily a reimagining but just a considered approach to the typology in this specific context. The enduring qualities of a Cultural Institution as Civic Placeholder in a town. The approach here was to arrange a collection of Cultural Rooms about a new square in a shifting piece of Reykjavík. It is conceived as a moment of calm in a place in flux, one example for the densification and ‘citifying’ of 101 Reykjavík. It is a House for Art with no collection, but instead works as a platform for local artists and the existing artistic conversation. As such, the building is organised like a big House. It is a collection of rooms simply arranged and loosely defined. These spaces are not spectacular but intelligent, accommodating, homely.


Landscape Infrastructure Architecture is individual, landscape is communal. A landscape infrastructure is built for sharing. An open-ended strategy for the brown fields of 101 Reykjavík. “It provides a framework for a diversity of architectural developments to happen in time. Landscape infrastructures are thought of as catalysts for architectural development. We intend to introduce landscape elements that make a common ground for unknown futures, making diversity enjoyable. The landscape infrastructures emerge from a selective reading of the landscape history of the site.” Florian Beigel ARU, Stadtlandschaft Lichterfelde Süd, Berlin 1998

Florian Beigel + ARU, Stadtlandschaft Lichterfelde Süd, Berlin 1998


The Cultural Institution The building was to function not only as an art gallery but also as an architecture museum, academic resource, experimental installation space and performance centre. The proposal can be understood as a constellation of these programmatic components, which avoids a hierarchical organisation in favour of a loose balancing of forces. Like the city of Rome, the Centre achieves its identity through inconsistency, ambiguity and juxtaposition. New buildings are placed beside and around existing ones, producing a diversity of experience that is unimaginable within a singular, new structure. Caruso St John Centre for Contemporary Art Rome (Project), 1999 In such a flat and open place there is a potential to make an extensive and open-ended building that generously engages its surroundings. This openness can also deliver the multidisciplinary program and social ambitions of the House of Art. In our project, territorial planning and the design of a room both contribute to the formation of a strong overall atmosphere. The museum is like a small settlement and also like a palace. Caruso St John Herning Art Museum (Project), 2005


The Civic Space One must consider ones actions as laying a seed, creating a catalyst, or beginning a process of which one can only partially predict the result. There is an aesthetic economy, the aim of elegance, doing little with good things. Landspace is the nature of nature. Being horizontal, landspace is a space of communication. It is a meeting ground. Florian Beigel From this point on I came to regard architecture as the instrument which permits the unfolding of a thing. Aldo Rossi

Giovanni Mansueti, Miracle at San Lio 1494


A Family of Rooms We operate in a temperate climate where a sense of comfort and cosiness, of inner seclusion, the experience of the interior, are important. In this sense the room has a power for its sense of isolation and completeness, the sense of itself – its mood, its character. In this context the room is the basic element of architecture – a discrete and contained space that supports and facilitates comfortable inhabitation, simply made with walls, floors and ceilings, and with punctures in these for access, air, light or aspect. Clancy Moore


Framing Space At that moment, I realized that I wanted the new thinking processes embodied in architecture to not be summated in a mere diagram, but to emerge as a kind of landscape capable of remaining in ones memory. A ‘nest’ is a place for people that is very well prepared, everything is assembled and very functional, meanwhile the ‘cave’ is just a raw space, which people need to explore and find their own comfort within. This is a situation where people can use space creatively. I prefer something like the cave-like-unintentional space. Something that is in between nature and artifact - formless form. Space is relationships and architecture generates various senses of distances. To construct a wall is to bisect a space into 0 and 1, however a space must have intrinsically many graduations between 0 and 1. I like to create an in-between-space, therefore my works are very basic. Sou Fujimoto


A House for Artists The centre was conceived as a big house to be explored and discovered by visitors as they move between floors. At the centre of this house is a staircase, which ties together the different spaces on half landings, providing a simple, open and legible layout that is equally inviting to a first time visitor as to one intimately familiar with the building. This quality was key to the design. A public building should be regarded as streetscape in the territorial sense, an extension of the public realm. So in this case the stairs become a street, a meeting place, a means to break down the threshold between art and its audience, while also providing the primary service and ventilation conduit for the centre. It forms the physical and metaphorical heart and face of the building. Clancy Moore West Cork Arts Centre (Competition) 2009


Final Review

5th May 2011


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Sunken Installation Space North Room 1 (Audio-Visual) South Room 1 (Theatre/Film) Informal Exhibition Space Workshop North Foyer South Foyer

8 Entrance & CafĂŠ 9 Admin 10 North Room 2 (Painting) 11 South Room 2 (Sculpture) 12 Restaurant 13 Lookout Tower 14 North Room 3 (Photography)


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Sunken Installation Space North Room 1 (Audio-Visual) South Room 1 (Theatre/Film) Informal Exhibition Space Workshop North Foyer South Foyer

8 Entrance & CafĂŠ 9 Admin 10 North Room 2 (Painting) 11 South Room 2 (Sculpture) 12 Restaurant 13 Lookout Tower 14 North Room 3 (Photography)


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Elevational Studies


Undercroft


Rory Corr +44(0)78 21716100 rorycorr@gmail.com corrr.blogspot.com skype: rorymichaelcorr


Stage 5 Folio  

A Place for Art, Reykjavík, Glasgow School of Art 2011, Rory Corr.

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