THE WILD BLUE YONDER - Bartlett BSc Architecture Unit 4 - Luke Pearson and Mike Aling

We ought to be grateful that the Universe out there knows no smile.
Werner Herzog

The Otherworldly on Earth.

Unit 4 wish to investigate the manner in which the evocative imagery and technologies underpinning mankind’s attempts to escape the earth’s atmosphere are intricately woven into our public consciousness. Werner Herzog’s 2005 cinematic interstellar voyage, The Wild Blue Yonder, subverts the notion of our exploratory spirit. Through the adaptation of stock documentary footage of locations (relatively) easily accessible to us on earth, he blurs the boundary between what exists on our doorstep and what we perceive to be otherworldly. The film-camera is used as a device for the drawing of duration. Herzog’s camera is the earth-bound equivalent to that of the astronaut’s: an apparatus used to chronicle glittering objects in gold, surfaces patterned with the shadows of their protrusions, and modules performing elaborate manoeuvres whilst travelling at incomprehensible speed around our planet.

Duration and Wonderment.

The Wild Blue Yonder triggers distant collective memories of an era when the public looked on in wonder at buildings of such unfathomable scale as to appear otherworldly. This era of the space race also produced constructions for staged transitions into different states, enclosures moulded to the body and designed for survival in the most inhospitable of conditions, contraptions used to test man and his senses to known limits and beyond, and situations that forced mankind to renegotiate the ways by which we represent spaces.
We will investigate what an architecture of duration is – how is a building reasserted many times over through revisions and remodellings that are also understood to have been produced at an identifiable point in the building’s life.

We believe that drawing should not simply be understood as a static vehicle used to represent architecture. A drawing can be used to interrogate architectures that constantly alter, that call out to be read through vectors, azimuth, altitude, and velocity. The drawing encompasses the modelled, the photographed, the filmed and everything in-between – these are not distinct paths. Moreover, the drawing can become the link between architecture and the wonderment Herzog encourages us to experience.

Unit 4 wish to construct architectures that embrace this wonderment. If wonderment is dissipated by familiarity, then its creation relies on an architecture that constantly updates itself, that keeps on transmitting information. It is no surprise that the temporary structures of World Fairs, Expositions, launch pads or fleeting moments in films beguile us so.