Advanced Design Studio: FAT

Project Description

On January 16th, 2013, a helicopter crashed into the fifty story St. George Wharf Tower, plunging into the rush hour traffic of the major transportation hub below. The tower, shrouded in thick London fog, and so new that it had not yet been entered into the GPS database, was completely invisible to the pilot. Chaos followed the crash; the Cartesian digital grid which had been trusted to provide an absolute, clear, and stable mapping of reality had suddenly become the violent, destabilizing force which caused the collapse of all rational order in the city.

The proposal for a Dementia Village extends this temporary suspension of faith in the rationality of the city by engaging with the supposedly neutral framework of urban life which silently structures our experience of the world. The project plays with the subconscious operations of the grid, using it not as a rational, neutral tool for orientation and objective stability, but instead as a means through which an unstable, irrational dream state consciousness is accessed. In the dream state logic of the Dementia Village, memory of the rational order of the city is recollected in fragments and conflations which don't adhere to the original rules of the waking state references; the city grid is rotated and thickened into an array of incomplete open houses lifted off the ground, inhabited by the dementia patients.  Shared amenities and medical services are housed in monumental objects whose readings hover between universal platonic primitives and recombinations of specific historic references.

The project is a simulacrum of a city which drifts between urban, architectural, and paper spaces, between symbolic representation and tautological flatness. It flirts between a seductive metaphysical dream state and a self-referential, sarcastic awareness of its own. illusion through misbehaving shadows and representational contradictions.