Brexit Monuments 51° 4′ 51.6′′ N, 1° 9′ 57.6′′ E
Jamie Stirrat & Riane Samir
Situated in proximity to the Folkestone enterance to the Eurotunnel at Ceasar’s Camp (A site of important English heritage). The site stands perched at a pivotal point overlooking the eurotunnel complex and transport links. Through three primary principles the scheme aims to provide an evolving landscape that adapts and represents Post-Brexit Britain & Post-Brexit Europe. These principles are Scalability – Usability – Flexibility; setting an example for the rest of the project to run.
The scheme follows a linear design process, that does not end with the intervention. Like politics in the West, decisions are made democratically, in succession based on the context of current affairs, economy, technology and necessity.
With the intervention acting as a living monument to the socio-political implications of Brexit, we took a similar approach, based around the principles previously defined. By creating a hollow and fragile framework primarily from the technology of a simple single joint. The infrastructure is passed on to the newly formed Paris School of Architecture. An active curriculum to design, manipulate and build to the theme of Post-Brexit history as it unfolds. This introduces students to the social and political nature of architecture whilst providing education in design, construction, wider-infrastructure and history.
In developing a project in 5 days, what were the biggest challenges? Could you talk us through the process?
Throughout my Bachelor degree, I was really struggling to be efficient – sacrificing a lot of hours, will power and life to finish the course. This lead me to read many books such as ‘The 80/20 Principle’ by Richard Koch and ‘The Four Hour Workweek’ by Tim Ferriss. It’s the common belief in society today that to be the most ‘successful’, you must work as hard, and as long as anybody else is willing to do. From these books I extracted that this is simply not true. Success lies first and foremost in strategy and collaboration. Then after that is sorted, the amount of working hours is like a multiplier. Our biggest challenge was to be productive whilst dealing with life outside of the project, such as work. This is where Riane (the design partner for this proposal) and I focused on our individual strengths to cover the gaps. Then it was how to get the project from zero to one.. Based on another book ‘The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’ by Steven Covey, we made the process as efficient as possible for the short time we had, working to be as effective as possible! Something that would have been out of reach for me a year ago.
What prompted the project?
We were looking for a project that gave freedom to design and experiment under a unique and challenging set of conditions. With the project being open in brief and inherently political, it was a great chance to test a different approach and understand architecture in a different context.
How does your intervention respond to this extreme flexibility?
Through simplicity, by taking a simple and micro detail such as a structural joint, we were able to multiply and provide a series of repeated voids that would allow for future interventions not designed by us. Although we imagined a hypothetical proposal, we hoped that the proposal would allow enough flexibility so as to provide the school with an active curriculum and a space to experiment, design and build.
What is the relationship to the monument nowadays? To what extent should architecture be concerned with the notion of monumentality?
Architecture is the result of an idea, a set of beliefs. Regardless of what they are, when these beliefs are made into to reality they represent something – a time, a creed, an attitude.. Through this each architecture will always stand for something therefore it’s maybe not necessary to be directly concerned with monumentality.. because it will happen anyway!
What defined the drawings through which you articulate the speculation- what determined the way the views is specifically framed?
The drawings were a response to our process.. Each drawing a response to what we were testing at the time. The site plan, location. The diagrams, the narrative of the scheme’s development and the plans, about program and modularity. The view was specifically framed as a response to the reality of the proposal – as overlooking a major transport route, so we felt it was right to take the viewpoint as from a passenger in a car viewing the proposal without the ability to interact.
What role does the white frame play in relation to the drawing?
The white frame, like the duty of any frame, separates the image from its surroundings and places it in its own world, we think this makes the drawing easier to visualise or understand in its own terms. Its own world.