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Contested Space Demo Space

Having analysed the Occupy Movement at St Paul’s Cathedral and identying the Altruistic traits of sharing information within the camps and the transformation of the insurgent public space, I sought to find places where this movement had digitally spread to and physically surfaced. Oxford Brookes University had seen its own Occupy movement appear outside its public green space. Students where not happy about their tuition fees going up, but that wasn’t the only issue, their meme merged with the ‘anti-bankers’, ‘anti-capitilist’ meme. The brief here is to nurture opinions and not allow one dominant idea so suck in minor opinions under one big banner. To nurture debate and expressions free from a percieved concensus is the idea of my brief. How can I use the university and its spaces that allow architecture students make more socially aware designs, using social media data to make propose very relevant solutions free from background noise and display these solutions to visitors and the public protestors.

Site Analysis

Site research: Proliferation

A brief account of the Occupy London protest at St Paul’s Cathedral’s ‘Tent City’ with two key peaks in its memetic replication. The thickness of the above line expresses the level of the memetic replication across digital devices (using Google trends) with an increase in the appropriation of public space across St Paul’s Cathedral.

Starbucks FREE Internet


Cathedra St Paul’s Wi-Fi Signal


Occupy Spreads to Cardiff

Eviction Notice

OccupyLondon StPaulsCathedral

Occupy London,

St Paul’s Cathedral


utio. meme finder by sirwan. Geo-spatial search engine verifying social media activity over a space. The red dots represent memes that are pro-war and the black dots represent the ‘occupy’ meme. This also shows the level of contestation with the amount of black dots versus the amount of red dots. Utio can provide a pattern of surfaced agents, across St Paul’s Cathedral. The findings will be cross compared with the survey of the public and the interview of the protesters. A pattern drawn across the city would also allow me to see the concentration level of memeplexes that may be the precursor for creation of interstitial spaces. The assertion made is that enough memes in one spot can leave the space exposed for spatial appropriation.

digital memes tracked

Memetic Makeup > Memes spotted across the public space at St Paul’s Cathedral and their intensity help allocate not only the precise space but the form of the building itself as meme units have levels of intesity. The level of replication over the same space helps create a greater memetic value of intesity for that given space.

capturing memes

iPhone Meme Capture > Using the iPhone as a device to catch memes, visual data can also be used as part of the forming and the memetic makeup of that space over time.


Simone Giostra & Partners Architects have designed the GreenPix – Zero Energy Media Wall – a project applying a self-sustainable digital media LED display on the curtain wall of Xicui Entertainment Complex in Beijing, near the site of the 2008 Olympics. Featuring one of the largest color LED display worldwide and the first photovoltaic system integrated into a glass curtain wall in China, GreenPix transforms the building envelop into a self-sufficient organic system, harvesting solar energy by day and using it to illuminate the screen after dark, mirroring a day’s climatic cycle.

Farnsworth Wall

Farnsworth Wall is an architectural wall module that uses and harvests solar energy for illuminating indoor spaces. This application, using real-time responses to it’s surrounding environment, creates an engaging experience for people on site. The Farnsworth wall is a modular paneling system built as a Structural Insulated Panel (S.I.P.) in a standard 4x8 size.This module can be cut and applied to virtually any existing or new construction. A layer of solar panels on the exterior harvests and stores radiant energy and an embedded system of low-energy L.E.D. lights on the other side illuminates the interior space.

hyposurface wall

The hyposurface wall physically reacts to given data, recieved through a programme written to make the wall responsive. The hyposurface wall would connect the digital meme and its pulses of replication and intensity into the physical space, mediating between the digital and the physical surfaced meme. A responsive architecture would help mediate between contesting memes.

Visualisation of the Hyposurface wall at St Pauls Cathedral.

installation over st pauls

A mock up view of how Liquid Crystal Film panels suspended above the public space at St Paul’s Cathedral may look. Electrical pulses turn the panels on and off gradualy at a rate of speed according to the streaming feeds being circulated through digital space such as the twittersphere, with a tag of ‘Occupy’ and ‘St Pauls’.


A sketch design on how shelter can react to social data with nodes in the joint being the responding mechanis, reacting to social expressions around the area. The key aspect of this is how social content can take part as a node in the building. Reactions to Social Content would be looked at in the designing of a later building, to help nurture alternate Expressions.


Data such as the intensity of a meme and its dynamic and changing values give the architecture a responsiveness to its cultural context. Parts of the building could react in either form, color or shape representing the values within social content or projections of tweets which would help mediate ideas and opinions and provide a space which will nurture a democratic platform for expressions.

site visit: st paul’s cathedral History: St Paul’s Cathedral. Religion, Freedom. Programme: Expression, Opinion, Protest. Irk: Dramaturgy, Theatrical, Contestation of Memes.

contesting memes + representations

meme representation

Memetic Makeup > The memetic make-up of a particular space is made up of varying levels of intensity from element used in its makeup. Each element in its memetic make up (digital and physical) can vary depending on the opinions over time and this can affect the space’s overal representation and wider memetic value.

Light intensity

light reflection

insurgent spaces > distort the representation of the image and light, invoking anonymity and insurgency in public spaces.

Site Map: occupy memesurfaces to oxford

The digital meme spreads to Oxford carrying the same Altruistic characterstics found at the ‘Occupy St Paul’s’ Tent City. It surfaced in the same manner and transformed the space identically.

Site > Oxford Brookes University

University > Students Protestors

Site visit: brookes 1:1500

Protest > Entrance Site Insurgent Space > Public Space

brookes public space

university spaces Build > Workshop

Creativity, Development > Abercrombie Studios Proliferate > Lecture Hall Meeting > Single Rooms

Spaces > The Protest site is sorrounded by spaces that proliferate and help create ideas and expression at an academic level, I can use or enhance these spaces with a proposal design and engage the students who both protest and use these significant spaces.

Open Space > Protesting

Study > Library

protesting space site

Tent City > Occupy Brookes. Brookes > Creativity. Altruism > Information shared through Signs.


Open Portal > Mezzenine to Gallery and Debating Floors. Studio > Critiqueing work developed from debates and public discussions. Partioned Studio Spaces > Information shared

Meme Showcases > Gallery Cells, maze. Gallery Perimeter> Outside of maze is open. Tent City > Outdoor space for outdoor protesting.

Proliferating Space > Debating Circle for opinions and memes to merge or eliminate.

Open Space > Combines debating with indoor protesting space creating a communal space between facilities. Offices & Facilities> Communicating with meeting with other protest sites. Dinning > Public Dinning and refectionary facilities.

ground floor N

first floor N

second floor



AXO Exploded 1:500

Roof > A flat parapet roof with cieling windows provide sunlight onto the studios.

Studios > Protestors and students will take their findings from debates influenced by public digital memes (from the social screen graph) away from their debates to produce much more socially aware designs and develope them further on the studio level with other students, mentors and tutors. The main lecture hall has a projector screen that can help the student / protestor present their ideas (filtered down and alternated) to other students and criticism.

Gallery > All past work of socially aware designs that have been developed their through using social media data for their findings are exhibited here in a maze, with litracon block work showing sillhouttes of other visitors giving the anonymity of public spaces and design.

Debating > This floor is a wide open floor that fuses indoor protesting with a debating hall, an open space like this gives the semblance of an insurget space that a protestor can feel whilst making their mark and at the same time contribute to a debate brought forth by students and visitors concerned about ideas, politics or memes from outside society. The first floor has conference and Internet ready rooms for research and fact finding whilst also accomadating the visitors with a canteen and toilet rooms for both men and women. The curtain wall entrance provides enough sunlight for this open floor to blur the inside and outside spaces whilst the protestors inhabit this open space.

Foundation > Deep pile and wall foundations help make the reinfored concrete framework structure stable.

Developign Ideas from Open Social Data > Studio spaces for protesters to engage with students at Oxford Brookes University to develop more enriched and socially aware designs and solutions.


Projected Facade > The Top floor of the West facing facade have LED screens displaying words or pulses in the Twittersphere that give the public an idea of what could be discussed inside the building within the debating area and the open space inhabited by protestors.

connecting memes

Node Relationships > Connections between nodes in space determinte a relationship between more than one node or social content. The relationship shows the strength between and in each opinion, expression or tweet giving rise to a more transparent set of information for use in debates and discussions.

memetic paths

Light Following Paths > Reflections of light follow lines at predetermined shapes, casting highlights on the basis of ones location. The paths of memes can be view physically via light.

social media pulses

Energy Saving Lighting > Engergy saving Cree 10W LED fiber optic lighting kits calbe DIA 3.0mm for stablising the frame and attaching the AMOLED screens, pulses of light play rhythmically to tweets from within the buildings area. White sparkle lighting . 6 colors Sparkle lighting effect.

Axo Scale 1:150

AMOLED Screens > An AMOLED display consists of an active matrix of OLED pixels that generate light upon electrical activation that have been deposited or integrated onto a thin film transistor (TFT) array, which functions as a series of switches to control the current flowing to each individual pixel. Showing timed flashes of tweets being made in the building and around the entire area. Aluminum Box Frame > Box frames similar to the ones used in shop fascia signs with riveted drilled connections. The frame goes through 3 floors and is connected to buildings re-inforced concrete beam structure.

section: mezanine

social meme graph

Social Meme Graph > The fibre optic wires illuminate the MOLED screens representing the areas growing meme, the social meme graph is always on and is continuously changing. It is also at the center of the debating chamber where the public can unconciously influence debate. The Moled screens have built in speakser that Whisper the social keyword.


Precedent Study > Italian Pavilion / Material Architect: Giampaolo Imbrighi Location:Shangai, China Built on a plot area of 3,000 sq.m with a Built area of 2,000 sq.m The building is lapped on three sides by a water reflector. What surprised, however, will not be the monumental aspect, at least not only that, as insure projects, but will be the play of light created by the alternating slits on the front and from sunlight filtering through the transparent cement. And it is this material (i.light ®, the Italian version of Litracon ™) resin developed specifically for precisely the Pavilion by Italcementi Italy to be the strong point of the project. 3774 panels, size 500×1000 mm by 50 mm thick, made with 189 tonnes of “transparent cement, covering a total area of 1887 square meters, about 40% of the Pavilion. The pavilion then, playing with the lights turns its aesthetics. The light transmitting concrete from Hungarian architect Aron Losoncziwas the first example we saw in 2001, but now Italian company Italcementi Group has created their own version of translucent cement that combines the best qualities of cement walls and transparent windows.The material is made of fine concrete and optic glass fibers that make up 4% of its weight. This Italian Pavillion uses a better version called i.ilight. Up close, the 2-3mm gaps make a startling pattern and from certain angles or at a distance appear exactly the same as normal concrete. But on a sunny day inside a building made from the cement, the effect is akin to little more than a light mesh on the wall filtering the light coming in the concrete has been formed by bonding special resins in a new mix created by Italian architects Italcementi. The material, called i.light, was created specifically for the Italian pavilion at the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai, but it has already been suggested it could save electricity that would otherwise be required for daytime lighting. Italcementi used i.light for around 40 per cent of the 18-metre high Expo pavilion, or 3,774 transparent panels and semi-transparent panels made from 189 tonnes of the product. In each transparent panel there are approximately 50 holes, leading to about 20 per cent transparency. The semi-transparent panels were around 10 per cent see-through and were created by ‘modulating the insertion of the resins’. Previous attempts at a similar feat had been tried using fibre optic cables through concrete, but Italcementi claims its version is better. The walls of the pavilion felt solid and looked solid from an angle, but when viewed straight-on they looked rather like windows that were able to let in light. Italcementi’s creation was made with a proprietary mixture of cement and admixtures that bonds with a thermoplastic polymer resin. The resin is injected into tiny holes that span the width of each cement panel, resulting in approximately 20 percent transparency. The transparency can be changed by modifying the amount of resin in the panels.

litracon blocks

Litracon > External Walls are made of Litracon building structural blocks whilst the inner walls are made of Litracon panels. Allowing a transparent sense of understanding about what is going on in the building at all times. The blocks are load-bearing and provide the same effect with both natural and artificial light. Glass fibres lead light by points between the wall-surfaces. Shadows on the lighter side will appear with sharp outlines on the darker one. Even the colours remain the same. Such a wall with glass fibre-pixels acts as if scanner and screen are united. This special effect creates the general impression that thickness and weight of this concrete wall disappear.

partioning panels with litracon


Column to Beam > Pre-stressed concrete beams with advance fibre and steel re-inforced bars and a longitude bar. Reinforced concrete beams are designed to act together with longitudinal and web reinforcement in resisting applied forces. Cast in place concrete beams are formed and placed along with the slab they support. The portion of the slab acts as an integral part of the beam.

Floors > Two-Way Slab and Beam of uniform thickness with reinforcement in two directions cast integrally with supporting beams and columns on all four sides of square bays. Two-Way Slab and beam construction is required and is effective for medium spans and heavy loads, or when a high resistance to lateral forces.

Walls > Litracon wall blocks that act as a stability for the frame structure. Litracon blocks are lighter and stronger than concrete. They also have a transculent property to the material.

Stability > Circular and Rectangular 750mm columns connect from foundation to roof taking on Axial Load whilst the reinforced pre-stressed concrete beams take on the lesser Eccentric load. The column thickness and the rebar connections for the cast in situ beams reduce the shear stress and the two-way slab and beam flooring prevent tension stress on the beams.

Stability > The gallery floor is shorter in height which will reduce shear pressure as well as tension, whilst giving a confined feel to the gallery’s maze. The Gallery floor being the central stability in the concrete frame construction. The concrete columns take on the light weight flooring reducing the compression pressure.


tech section Roofing Felt Thermal Insulation Layer Membrane Layer Concrete Sand Cement Creed Concrete - Cast In Situ - Reinforced

Concrete Coping with Reinforced Bars

Plaster Finish

Anchoring, Eye Hooked Drilled into head joing Parapet Wall

of coping with s.s. pin drilled into coping stone. Self-Adhering Rubberised Asphalt Flashing

Joint Reinforcements

Stainless Steel Drip Edge

Color Joint

with Sealant below it Mesh to Contain Grout between Structural Litracon Blocks

Flashing & Counter Flashing Vertical Rebar

Cant Strip Roof

Litracon Blocks with Finish

Pre-Stressed Concrete Beam with Steel Rebar

Thermal Air Layer

Vertical Steel Rebar connected to Beam

Thermal Insulation Layer

Litracon Blocks

Litracon Blocks

Concrete - Cast-in-Place Concrete Reinforcement Bars joins to re-inforced columns with wire meshing

3rd Flr.

Adoni Black Tiles

Metal Decking R51 Sub Flooring, Gypsium Board Anchored

2rd Flr

1st Flr

SCALE 1: 60

Adoni Black Tiles Membrane Layer - Vapour & Moisture Barrier for Vapour Retarder Insulation Thermal Barrier - Rigind Insulation Masonry Concrete Floor Block Membrane Layer - Vapour & Moisture Barrier - Damp Proofing Substrate - Site - Sand Substrate - Site - Hardcore

Devoid of accent colors, Adoni Black is unwaveringly solid and dark with a ridgelike striation. With the use of Charcoal grout these tiles will give the interior a material a similarity to the protesting and insurgent spaces outside. Similar in colour and feel to concrete.

interior light


design studio 9