MONUMETRIC - Bartlett BSc Architecture Unit 4 - Luke Pearson and Ana Monrabal-Cook

UG Four continues its explorations into architectures of public delight, antipathy or bemusement by examining the role of clarity, resolution and imagery in communicating and propagating spaces and events.

Working with an architectural typology that keeps the symbolic at its heart, this year we will be focussing on the concept of Monument.

Monuments have typically been thought of as static forms – a remembrance or commemoration of a moment frozen in an architectural form. The great cities of the world define themselves and their achievements through their monuments - an architectural form used as a unit of ‘measure’. But monuments have always sat at the junction between symbolism, power, technology and memory. What they mean and what they stand for can change in an instant; they are judged within the context of time (historic) or place (geographic).
Increasingly we see buildings formed by certain technologies becoming monuments at a certain point in time. Rem Koolhaas used the term automonument to describe the skyscrapers of New York. These totemic structures became a testament to technology and the city is a symbol of power and progression. So a building does not have to be designed as a monument to become monumental.

Project One:

For the first two weeks we will examine the feverish outputs of your imagination through a MONUMENT MASHUP workshop.

A session with our RANDOM MONUMENT GENERATOR (RAM) will generate the name of a project for each student and you will produce conceptual propositions in response.
Will you receive the Tower of Telescribing or accept the Plaza of Prism?

We are looking for inventive interpretations and speculative explorations that will begin to build your agenda for the rest of the term. We will encourage you to question why and how you construct drawings, and how they support the impression of your architecture – or whether they even need be on paper. We ask you to challenge what types of software you might use to develop a strategy – perhaps by rejecting typical CAD programmes to design through digital sculpting or by translating spaces back and forth through the physical and the digital. We expect you to look closely at the world around you to develop your own unique strategy for developing an architecture that straddles the material and immaterial.

Having used the MONUMENT MASHUP as a catalyst to develop an agenda for your work, you will then develop a project for a monument devised through the remote study of either New York, Washington DC or Philadelphia.

The outcome of this proposal will be communicated through a final piece of work that stands for your proposed monument. We are keen for this piece of work to explore the result of the project not only through the architecture that you propose, but through the methods by which you represent it. We continue to encourage a playful interplay between the hand-made and computer created, the static, the dynamic and the interactive.

By developing design strategies we will create new forms of Monument that reflect on the contradictions present in our lives as a result of technology, and how architecture can take a position in relation to this. We are offered unparalleled amounts of information, but at the price of ourselves becoming that information.

For every possibility celebrated in our contemporary society, there is usually a limitation. Rather than submit to this we propose to take hold of the absurd, contradictory or unreal potential of new technologies to create architectures that exemplify the modern landscape (actual and virtual) that they inhabit.

Below: The Random Monument Generator undergoing final troubleshooting