Establishing and Creating Architectural Evidence
You enjoy exploring the world through the lens of a camera, what does this tool do for you?
First and foremost, it provides a visual archive. It helps me keep track of what I have seen and what I appreciated at that specific time and place. Overall there is often a lack of human presence in the pictures I take as I prefer to let the architecture and landscape speak for themselves. Just like pictures of a crime scene – deserted – I photograph for the purpose of establishing evidence. In the end they usually demand a particular approach where free-floating contemplation is not appropriate. This approach tends to reflect the work of certain photographers such as Eugène Atget, August Sander and Ansel Adams.
To what extent do both sketch and the photograph translate our environment in terms of atmospheres and emotions?
Sketching has this ability to narrow one’s perception to a couple of important points. In architecture this is a significant tool as the one drawing the sketch is able to guide the viewer through a certain story. During my first and second year, sketching was the only mode of representation I was able to control. I looked a lot at comic books in order to see how the illustrators were able to convey certain emotions/atmospheres to the reader. Details in nature, climatic conditions and lighting always helped the sketches reach a deeper dimension : an understanding, or at least a perception, of the environment where the building stood. This is also true for photography. There are infinite points of views that can be adopted and in the end, the chosen one often tends to reveal the particular atmosphere felt on the spot at that time.
What dictates your colour palette?
Pastel colours usually seem to be the common denominator in the images/montages I produce. In the Funeral Complex project “On Ashes” I used mostly desaturated black/green/blue. These colours seemed appropriate for a project in Iceland as they were often found in the landscape. In the end the colour palette usually always adapts to the project and its specific location.
How and to what extent does the medium of the book frame a project and/or a series of works?
In the case of “Atlas of Overexploited Territories – Baltic Sea” the medium of the book was essential in translating our message. The size, layout and font were decided upon at an early stage since Muriz and I both knew this would frame our production in a decisive way. The object of the book became an architectural project in itself. It was actually conceived in a similar manner, layouts were produced on Illustrator, different models were made, sketches were drawn, etc. In the end the book and the project were developed side by side (not one after the other) and we believe this helped us to produce a research project which makes sense on both the theoretical and the design levels.
On Ashes_Funeral Complex
The death care industry is one of discretion. Often forgotten or purposely ignored as an industry. Cremation—the act of burning a corpse to ashes—is one of the most popular funerary methods. In a world where lack of space is often an issue, and cemeteries feel increasingly pressured by urban expansion, cremation offers a flexible and concrete alternative. In Europe, this trend has given rise to countless architecture projects that seek to update and modernize the industry.
The death care industry is not an industry of profits, margins or board-meetings. It is an industry of simple transformation. Surrounded with respect and guidance, architectural design is a crucial part of the process. It is often financed by the state, interested in securing low prices and high quality care. Today, Iceland is equipped with only one crematorium. Like a vast majority of the country’s infrastructure, it is located in Reykjavík. With a growing population, and thus an increasing need for such infrastructures, Iceland will need to find alternative solutions. At first glance, the obvious location would indeed be Reykjavík, but after closer analysis, the general trend seems to tell a different story: most of the demographic growth is concentrated in the southern regions of Iceland, where there are good connections with the capital and the most favourable weather conditions. These regions and their inhabitants will soon need access to new death care infrastructure.
Thomas Paturet (b. 1989, Merriam, Kansas) lives and works in Lausanne. He received his B.Arch from the École d’architecture de la ville et des territoires de Marne-la-Vallée (EAVT) in 2013, after an Erasmus exchange at the Accademia di Architettura di Mendrisio, and is now starting his last semester as a M.Arch student at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL). He is currently doing his master thesis, in collaboration with Muriz Djurdjevic, under the supervision of Prof. Harry Gugger of the Laboratory Basel (laba). During his studies he nourished and developed a wide and multi-faceted design approach. His work investigates how architecture, landscape, design, engineering and science, reflect and shape human experiences of place and environment. During his studies at the EAVT and EPFL he worked for different firms, such as Atelier Charles-Henri Tachon in Paris and Clément Vergély Architectes in Lyon. In addition to his architecture studies he is the creator and one of the editors, with Muriz Djurdjevic, of the online journal Atlas of Places (www.atlasofplaces.com). His interests include various domains, from drawing, graphic design to photography.
In 2015 Thomas won the Archizoom BestOf Award and the Banque Cantonale Vaudoise (BCV) Prize for his project “On Ashes”. This work was published in the “Archizoom BestOf 2015” publication as well as the “Icelandic Lessons – Teaching and Research in Architecture” publication.