Anqi Yu

Towards a Slow Town Hall | Turin, Italy | Unit 21 | 2018

Awarded Distinction for Design

 

Click to see Thesis
Click to see 4th year work

 

In 1909, Marinetti the founder of Futuristic Movement wrote in his manifesto that
“We stand on the last promontory of the centuries! Time and Space died yesterday. We already live in the absolute, because we have created eternal, omnipresent speed. “ 
He expressed his fascination of a future longing for the accelerated pace of development. 100 years later, people living at present feel themselves involved in this world of immense momentum yet no one knows how to get it under control. The accumulated urge has pushed us to the edge of the time when we are getting faster and faster, we create the illusion of gaining more from speeding up but the truth is that we have become so addicted to rush, and as a result, we forget what we are truly experiencing. This project sees slow architecture as a philosophy that focuses on the experiential aspects of architecture, where space is considered as a journey instead of a destination. This concept is addressed in a video form, which is this eighteen-minute long animation that experiences my project in sequence through the narrative of a boy called Carol from birth to death.
 
Our brief this year is set in Turin; and my programme is a town hall that situates at the north periphery of the city by River Dora. Turin is in its way of becoming an innovative cultural hub of Italy, the city is going through a series of fast changes, including metropolitan 2025 strategic plan, which aims to develop new cultural institutions and hold global events; the city is seeking for changes and opportunities. Under this circumstance, there is a need of a symbol or a landmark that gathers the people with the decision makers and facilitates these ongoing changes. By introducing these integrated spaces of slowness to the city as a town hall, the architecture becomes the agent that alleviates the current pressure of accelerated social adaptions and compressed time. The design of it is based on the principle of using architecture as a spatial implement to slow people down by introducing and manipulating elements like pixel, water, wind, light and view.

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The light section is designed to be a view observation deck. Normally view platforms are built to be convenient, people approach it through lifts and as the lift door opens, the view gets fully exposed. And people would say wow but then get a bit lost in what’s in front of them. However, in the slow town hall, the view deck is relatively hard to access with two slow scenarios inserted, which are almost like challenges to the visitors. Public is invited to go through a bright corridor, a dark chamber and a double wall sequentially where their sight perception is disabled temporarily and readjusted before the view of Turin finally unrolling for them.
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The water section functions as a public meeting chamber. Public is encouraged to wander around this area and occasionally listen to the meetings as the walls are built with different thickness, which open up several sound pockets to create a slow experience of overhearing.  The public to have the option to be aware of the decision making without feeling bored or overwhelmed.
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Wind as a motion of air, triggers other motions, especially on fragile objects. It is mostly invisible unless the trace of wind is revealed by objects that travel with it. We can feel the change of wind in terms of amount, direction, temperature, and sometimes, smell. Wind is the emotion of air. Moments of slowness occur on people when their attentions are shifted; therefore, functioning as an agency of distraction, wind could trigger movements and subtle changes in the space. As people meander through these mobile elements with unpredicted rhythm, they are invited to dance with the partitions and feel the remoteness between their body and the wind.
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