Sayan Skandarajah

PANORAMA | London | Unit 21 | 2013

PAVILION | Tremenheere Art Park, Penzance | Unit 21 | 2013

RESTITUTED TERRITORIES | Tangier, Morocco | Unit 21 | 2013

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Between a Glimpse and A front

“Between a glimpse and a front” examines the potential of subversion within the realm of visual perception. The project exploits the limits of the line of sight, using it as a tool to conceal, highlight and distract the viewer. The project also looks at the implications of movement and position, drawing emphasis on the ways that space can be explored visually through these means.

Panorama

A series of studies, using the original plan of the panopticon, explore the subversive potential of the architecture to be moved whilst viewpoint be fixed. The studies use different logics to making geometrical shifts, and explore the differing nature of what is perceived and unperceived in the space, highlighting the phenomenon of the blind spot as being particularly interesting.

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Pavilion

The project proposes a built landscape that occupies the site in varying degrees of engagement, forming paths, surfaces, frames and partially or fully enclosed spaces. The proposal is built on a hierarchy between two definitive spaces, one forming the main pavilion and the other housing an information centre with viewing platform. The Pavilion itself allows for art display as well as multi-purpose function space that has a dual relationship with the open spaces it is surrounded by. These spaces form market space, where stalls are set up to form a flux of market activity in an around the site. There are two main market spaces, which continue the dialectical language and emphasise the aspect of hierarchy within the site. The landscape is formed to create specific routes and movement whilst emphasising the aspect of viewpoint, either within the proposal or towards the surrounding context.

Restituted Territories

Restituted territories’ continues the focus of visual perception that was established in ‘Between a glimpse and a front’. The concept is however explored with more emphasis on a referential architectural language and deals with cultural and social tensions in foreign communities. Aspects of spatial and temporal ambiguities are introduced to the working process, with heavy emphasis on drawing, tracing and notation in two and three dimensional representation. The design is therefore seen as a ‘moving project’ that experiences transformations and regeneration through each iteration – temporarily frozen to capture the project through a variety of lenses.

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The Tangier landscape

The project sites itself in the medina of Tangier, a dense and meandering streetscape of buildings and fortification. The idea of way-finding and visual anchors for navigation become an early interest as the tension between vantage point and accessibility forms interesting relationships between the person occupying the city and the city itself. An insight into the complexity of city life in Tangier can be accessed through the writings of Paul Bowles, a western traveler who eventually settled in Tangier and wrote a series of novels set in Tangier and North africa. It is through an interpretation of his writing that provides a starting point for the project, as aspects of liminality, threshold and blurred imaginations of overlapping space begin to emerge.The area of focus in the project is within a medieval fortress wall that surrounds the medina of Tangier. The wall serves as a boundary condition, often acting as a navigational tool for travelers who are unfamiliar with the city. The project focuses on this relationship as well as others to do with the potential for ambiguous thresholds and territories.

Diachronic activity

The project raises the tensions of two communities that become overlapped and frayed at the point of the medina wall – a boundary condition, that being of the foreign traveller and the local residents. The definition of this site as a threshold is therefore more than one of spatial conditions but one of social interaction and exchange between opposite demographics. The significance of dislocating parts of the city and re-situating them on the site brings implications that are more than just borrowed geometry but of borrowed territory – creating a new threshold condition.

The site is re-appropriated into a diachronic study of program and axis, as the two communities that merge within the site find overlapped orientation and visual shifts within the space. The use of colour is used to mediate between these diachronic attitudes. As the project develops through iteration, it becomes evident that the space is explored systematically through transformations of space, that begin with an ‘origin’ source from which elements are repeated, rotated, shifted in scale and eventually settle in a new position. This transformation therefore has a certain trajectory and implications of a time based relationship. This relationship with time and space implies chronotopic behavior, as referenced in the work of John Hedjuk. The idea of a shifting architecture that occupies a space that references its surroundings takes shape in the design and the idea of multiple programs occupying multiple conditions (spatially and temporally) becomes the crux of the project development

The project culminates in a series of perspective three dimensional drawings that freeze multiple temporal and spatial conditions into a singular image. The significance of using perspective representation, which is traditionally criticised for stilling the viewer into one ‘moment’ in time and space, to depict an image that is essentially between time and space, forms the tensions that this project begins to explore.

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