Crafting Architectural Transitions
Cities are not static, they change and adapt with time, it is this time along with a shift in living culture that has lead to the rapid growth of metropolitan areas. The Dialogue has become a monologue and people are losing touch with their local scale of community. In a capital like London it has become extremely difficult to find suitable housing when first arriving to the city. The search results in endless hours of flat sharing interviews followed by overcrowding and subletting of houses which have not been adapted to handle the capacity of there new found function. The market is changing and there is potential for a revival in projects with amore intensive community – oriented outlook, allowing people to gain living spaces and shared areas which are uncommon to find in the inner-city of London. Instead these spaces have become lost in an attempt to sublet extra rooms in order to make living slightly more affordable.
Choosing a site in inner London with a rich existing industrial heritage I intend to re-establish a living typology that allows for a shared living experience with greater communal areas and a link into the existing fabric of an area which is characterised by creative co-spaces. Starting from the city I want to explore the nature of shared spaces moving inward from the urban to the domestic, deriving a tension between the different eras of industrial buildings in the area and creating a movement through lit, dimly lit and dark spaces.
Who influences you graphically?
I take inspiration from a lot of different mediums in my work; from visual artists like Alex Roman and Forbes Massie, to architecture practices such as 2A+P/A and Artists like Edward Hopper. With this project I found that my graphic style began with flat collages through the exploration of the site and design process. As the project became more defined, so too did the imagery – taking on a sense of realism in their style by the end.
How did the physical model help in exploring the proposal further?
The physical model for this project was somewhat of an on going process throughout. I mainly used computer modelling at the beginning of the project and as I went along I built part by part the existing context, identified buildings of interest and explored the solidity or skeletal qualities of each. This resulted in the final model being a patchwork of cast objects and more filigran structures. Identifying these qualities in the area helped me explore similar qualities in my proposal, working with the physical solidness of the base and the lighter, more filigran shell of the building.
What was your process in terms of concept and project development in relation to images produced?
The project began pretty early with image making. At the beginning I explored my way around the site through framed views. The area is somewhat of a labyrinth with the layered industrial past creating passageways and odd situations of interest. I worked thorough these images to identify a focal position in the area which could adopt an urban acupuncture approach. As I worked through concepts of shared living and an open ground floor, I used images to explore the level changes, materiality, and atmosphere of what I wanted to achieve. As the project continued to develop I constantly updated these views and found that working through image was a very useful tool for the development of this project.
You talk about a shared living experience but seize to show this through the introduction of silhouettes, why so?
Rather than showing the viewer the literal inhibition of a space I decided to inhabit the internal shared spaces with the remnants of inhabitation through the placement of object and furniture. The idea behind this is that people can imagine how they would use the space and envision themselves within the space rather than looking as an outsider into someone else’s living experience. Sometimes I like to look at an empty scene and imagine rather than be shown.
What defined the choice of specific views?
For me, the project has always been about the view beyond, and the visual connection throughout the landscape of the building. Therefore, when it came to deciding specific views I focused on the transitional spaces of the project. The spaces where a change begins to occur, be it from external to internal or at the beginning of a shift in the datum. Light also played a big part in my choice of views; throughout the project I tried to imagine how light could draw the eye into more communal areas of the building, and my images predominantly take on a central perspective in order to show these connections.
Brett Mahon is a recent Queens University Belfast graduate, and current freelance creative. He has studied under Bruno Krucker and Stephan Bates at TUM Munich during his March I year. Now working on projects ranging from graphic design to architectural visualisations, with the aim of gaining work in the set design industry later this summer, as well as curating an architectural construction workshop at this year’s EASA summer school, Neptune.