Crafting Narrative Through Representational Imagery
My initial interest occurred when investigating the rise in sea levels, it astounded me that 3% scientists and 1% climatologists disagree with human induced climate change, meaning it is fairly renowned this it is as a result of human activity. We have already released – 1010 gigatons of co2, and can safely release a further 500 gigatons. Per year, we release an average of 36 gigatons, meaning the projected time left is 8 years. Temperature is due to rise 4 degrees this century, which hasn’t happened in 4 million years. Temperature rise for Belfast means in the 2020s, we will have the same climate as France, in 2050s – Spain and in 2080s – Algeria.
Consequences of climate change include flooding, temperature change and a demographic shift, the ‘Garden of Earthly Delights’ by Hieronymus Bosch reminds us of such despair and apocalyptic impressions. It takes on a triptych formation – depicting a beginning, middle and end. This has a religious affiliation of the divine trinity. I realised this was not only religious but a way in which people relayed historical information in the past to help people understand scenarios. It would have been split up into dispensations: beginning – middle – end. From this more religions took on this understanding, for example evangelical Christians called dispensationalists. Their time is split time up into 8 stages, we are now in the second last stage before the apocalypse. I attempted to set up similar relationships, working in a dispensational format.
My initial interpretation was the idea the apocalypse is ‘the end of time’, however, when researching the term ‘apocalypse’, I realised it doesn’t mean the end of the world. It means to open up and unveil, it is a synonym for revelation. I believe the apocalypse/unveiling in Belfast will cause a new way of thinking for society and the built environment. New possibilities and force us into radically thinking and challenging the norms. It will make us to renew our political organisations, climate change will force the hand of moving forward. There will inevitably be environmental conflict and with Belfast’s history, we may even be more resilient to these problems and provoke ingenuities.
For the future of the revelation of Belfast, I propose that we migrate into the flood. In 53 years we run out of oil. My concept is to repurpose the disused oil rigs, as a new typology for the built environment of the city. The oil rigs will be decommissioned and brought to site by a Pioneering Spirit, it will be reconfigured according to it’s specific purpose and piled into the ground, arranged by the contouring depths of the Victoria Channel. It will be an artificial island, reminiscent of an Irish crannog with a feel of Constant New Babylon.
It’s somewhere between Superstudio meets Fritz Lang meets Hilberseimer meets the notions of a Ballardian novel. The city strategy is somewhat reminiscent of High Rise, with the formal city above and an informal city below with fish farms and coral reefs. It is a linear city, with influences drawn from Kenzo Tange’s Tokyo bay and metabolist movement, it is an ideal city but not in static renaissance form.
The site plan shows an extendable linear spined city genotype with city zones and a first point of contact. It’s phenotype reacts to climate, the rigs are modular with shaded spaces and new technologies and eco-gardens. It is a walking city, with a foot bridge as the spine and a suspended rail beneath, it also has the opportunity for air travel.
Who influences you graphically?
I have a vast array of influences when it comes to graphics. It’s somewhere between Superstudio meets Fritz Lang meets Hilberseimer meets the notions of a Ballardian novel. I also like to experiment with alternative forms of visualisation using more contemporary innovators, for example Chris Cornelius and Perry Kulper. Experimentation is my favourite part of a project, finding the appropriate graphical language to explain your ideas and denote your interpretations.
Where is the intersection between art and architecture in the representation of architecture?
Peter Cook was a pioneer for inventing futures and believing in them. In this case it’s taking the conceptual invention and turning it into a possible reality. The art within architecture is provocative and sparks conversations and promotes radical thinking. As my thesis progressed I took this architectural art and made it into something that could actually work in the future. Representational imagery is integral to the development of the narrative.
What drew you to the work of Bosch, how and to what extent has his style and approach influences you?
Consequences of climate change include flooding, temperature change and a demographic shift, the ‘Garden of Earthly Delights’ reminds us of such despair and apocalyptic impressions. It takes on a triptych formation – depicting a beginning, middle and end. The triptych allows us to read imagery within the same visual register, when you see it visually it becomes this world of simultaneity across three panels. It’s something like Picasso and cubism and the unfurling of time within space. I attempted to set up similar relationships, working in a dispensational format, not allowing the viewer to ever rest at one place.
What is your work process in terms of programs used and concept development?
My scheme starts off with a ‘big idea’, talking about climate change and the consequences of the inevitable. I then break down the mounds of research and slowly start to build up a response to the problem. The programs used in this process are AutoCad, SketchUp, Photoshop and InDesign. I work quite methodically and my thesis is represented in book format, with a beginning (problem/research), middle (solution/idea) and end (architecture/design) concluding a poetic finish to the triptych allegory. The book allows the reader to understand the dispensations of the project, as previously stated, the narrative is of high significance in my thesis.
Rebecca McConnell is based in Belfast, Northern Ireland. She studies under Professor Greg Keeffe and Professor Gary Boyd in their unit ‘intermodal’ at Queens University Belfast. Their group focuses on research of elements of daily life that shape our future architectural surroundings. She is due to graduate in July 2017.