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Folly Outside the Walls

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Folly Outside The Walls

Botho Neuss

 

Who influences you graphically?Jean Jaques Lequeu’s work in many ways has been a major reference for this project, certainly also graphically. Regarding the use of light and colour, Paul Delvau’s paintings were inspiring too.

 What significance does the colour pink hold within the sections? The pink sections could be understood as a homage to Lequeu. The colour pink is not associated with a certain materiality. It is neither clearly soil nor stone nor concrete yet it seems to stand for something more artificial than simply black or white. I read it as fictive but not random.

 You talk about Albertopolis as a cluster which primarily produces noise, why the choice of such subtle colours to represent this?I do perceive Albertopolis as a noisy place. Regardless the many treasures to discover, I find visiting the V&A for example rather stressful – it is too popular, too crowded, too loud. I didn’t want to represent this, I am more trying to respond to it. My project hence is a monument to ‘the unpopular’, the lost and forgotten, and as such it needed to follow a different language.

Signage and the ready to take away information is usually very colourful so why not incorporate this theme in your images?I did not want to mirror or exaggerate the given. That would have been cynical. The building is allowed to age, fade and rot and there would not even be any signage. Its a folly.

How does the texture used convey this idea of Albertopolis as a cluster of noise? Noise as in something dead or something which cannot be grasped?The elements embedded within the folly’s floor plates are fragments or interpretations of unbuild and demolished architectural projects in Albertopolis. I was aiming for a texture that would embody the slightly somber and lonely character of these lost and forgotten fragments. The idea was to leave behind Albertopolis and move on to the park. Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park are thus the immediate context for the tower – the open space opposing the city and a place with a long tradition of program-less architecture; follies and memorials. It is the same park where Peter Pan found the other lost children. In this spirit the texture had to seem a little bit detached from reality, it had to feel dreamy.

Project description: After the Great Exhibition of 1851 at the Kens- ington corner of Hyde Park had become a great cultural and financial success, Queen Victoriaís husband, Prince Albert, developed the plan for an area devoted to the arts, sciences and industry – a comprehensive intellectual centre for London where teaching institutions and collections are placed next to each other for a direct specialist and public utilization of knowledge; Albertopolis.

The implementation of Albert’s noble idea – a cultural center to educate the masses – has to be understood as an act of incredible power in a still royalist spirit of the Victorian era. This almost patronising dimension can be experienced unto this day. The regulations which try to explain how to function within the collections; the uncounted buttons we have to push in order to gain more information; the plastic dummies, animated and excessively lit; signs trying to teach accompanied by restaurants, shops and all the other characters from Baudrillard’s nightmare – at the highpoint of Albertopolis’ popularity, the thousands of visitors in their consumption of ready-to-take-away information still appear strangely passive. Furthermore, the physical neighborhood of universities and museums, once understood as a stimulation for interaction and collaboration seems outdated in a time of communication media Prince Albert could not have dreamed of. Once planned as a fertile center of culture, science and education and regardless the treasures that still can be discovered within its walls, Albertopolis today presents itself as a cluster which primarily produces noise.

Regarding such popular spirit, this project is an attempt to consider the unpopular within Albertopolis, the lost and forgotten, the demolished and unbuild. Traces of proposed, unbuilt or demolished projects can be found from the foundation of Albertopolis unto this day throughout all layers of its history; From the Royal Horticultural Gardens to the Royal School of Needlework, to a new campus for the AA. Their ‘unpopularity’ within Albertopolis unintentionally unites them. For this tower of outsiders, fragments of those projects are caught in between horizontal floor plates – layers of time or simply vertical extensions to the park. Embedded in the floor- plates they are at the same time the structural support of the construction.Opposing Albertopolis, this project is a building without a clear program. It is a collection in the open space and open to interpretation and imagination; the attempt to memorise the outsiders.

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