55/02: Manufactured architecture in a manufactured landscape (UCL)

Uploaded by UCLTV on 27.01.2010

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>> My name's Bob Sheil, I'm an
architect at the Bartlett School of Architecture at UCL.
This project called 55/02 was completed last June
and is located in Kielder Water
and Forest Park Northumbria.
This is a confluence of opposing states.
The man made, the natural, utilitarian, recreational,
the beautiful and the isolated.
It's a truly extraordinary setting.
But what's also interesting about this project
from our point of view is
that it is a completely seamless collaboration between us,
the designers, and the manufacturers
who are also designers.
The manufacturers are led
by Nick Callicott, former colleague
and alumni of UCL and he's an architect running a steel
fabrication firm in Germany.
So when we were appointed to look at this task
of designing a shelter in this setting, Nick was the first
person I called and we reestablished a relationship
which goes back many years and stems from a mutual interest
in the materiality and formation techniques in architecture.
Architecture's a physical and tactile subject embedded
in all sorts of ideas about representation, place, meaning,
but the thing that gets us most excited is
when architecture jumps from being representational
into the world of the physical and tactile.
So this project also hits on all sorts
of interesting issues associated with that bridge;
the bridge of representation, the bridge of making.
That bridge has been shortened in the last decade
through digital fabrication techniques, a territory known
The disciplines of drawing and the disciplines
of making have become merged
and this is what makes it significant
that an architect is running a steel fabrication firm.
This project seeks to exploit these opportunities
and to build an architecture that's truly bespoke
and truly exploitative of the dynamics of drawing
and the potential of manufacturing techniques, some
of which are traditional, that have been digitised.
What makes Kielder itself also
significant is its outsider context.
There are a number of projects in Kielder,
one by James Turrell,
one by Soft Rim,
which individually seek to explore things
that are difficult to build and difficult
to design in any other context.
The landscape is a manufactured landscape
and this is a manufactured architecture.
It may be digitally made and digitally drawn
but it involves a great degree of craft, and one of the ideas
about our practice and this project is
that craft is not something solely associated
with making things by hand; craft is the knowledge.
Craft is an idea that extends
across media, across materiality.
So this project to us is a project about digital craft
and a way of exploiting the potential of material,
fabrication techniques, and knowledge
of how things go together and completing in a sense the circle
for the designer, someone who draws, someone who prototypes,
someone who makes, someone who builds.
This project seeks to say quite a lot about architecture
but also quite a lot about the role of the architect
and the role of the manufacturer.
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