Vi.e.llage _ Drafting A Tropical Universe
Tiphaine Berthome & Emmanuelle Robin
This project concerns the collaborative erection of a large community hut to be used by nine families living in the small village of Nkol-Assi, in the middle of tropical forest, in the Mefou région of Cameroun.
In this proposal, the description of customs and living habits alone shows a keen knowledge of context : distinguishing private time and shared work sequences, following the rhythms of nature and the seasons. All the nine families are known and named. Some of their members have already left the village, confirming the exodus of younger generations and the gradual decline of its population.
The community hut project aims at improving everyday life by responding to both daily and occasional needs. Basically, it is a floor with a roof detached from walls, a place for meeting, shared activites after sundown, caring for children, welcoming guests and engaging in community work.
We define several sud-spaces the funtions of which are considered independently from the structure (storage of water and objects, washing stand, fireplace, forecourt…). In doing so we scrutinize, with technical acumen and a sense of poetry, the wealth of natural ressources and the essentials of architecture.
Who influences you graphically?
We have found our inspirations in nature itself. These different hues according to the seasons, observing meticulously the composition of the plants that are in the village. African music and rhythms are part of the visual composition, such as Chiwoniso, Baba sissoko. We have looked a lot at the work of Junya Ishigami, and his way of representing space in a rather naive way. Chris Turnham has inspired us a lot, with his collages of tropical decorations, palms, coconut palms and his declensions of green.
What dictated the choice of drawings you choose to reveal the project through?
The idea was to have a simple graphic, coming out of the shackles of classical representations. We wanted to have fun, and especially that people have fun when seeing our drawings. We have therefore turned to a lightweight wireframe design, as the project is located in an environment rich in vegetation. We want a lightweight finish where space is not in the background, while evoking the luxuriance of the vegetation and the omnipresence of the equatorial forest.
What was your work process in terms of images produced in relation to concept development?
No image we produced was intended not to be used, so we created and imagined a universe at the same time we designed the project.
What were your main objectives when crafting the views? Was there a specific atmosphere / idea you wanted to convey?
We wanted to create a tropical universe, where the forest is always present, and those on all the visuals, whether in plan, cut, axonometry or collage view. The idea was to have clear and precise technical documents, then to make them more lively in photomontage by adding color, and even animals or elements that we had taken in photos in the village, like the Pot that heats, the banana regiment on the table, the bucket full of water. The universe of the project is a mixture of imaginary and real: we sought images of references, engravings for vegetation (like those of Chris Turnham), which we mixed with photographs taken on the site. We insisted that the characters be the inhabitants of the village. It gives a fun side!
What programs did you use?
We have used all the software we have installed in our computer! Autocad, photoshop, illustrator, indesign, finally the classics.