Rendering the Dungeness Percept | Dungeness, UK | Unit 21 | 2021

Awarded Distinction for Design & Distinction for Thesis

The iconic image of Dungeness – the totemic object sited within a barren landscape – is synonymous with the mechanistic production of the Architectural Photograph. Disseminated by sites such as The Modern House and Dezeen, the imagery shapes our collective understanding of the place, imposing a romanticised fiction upon a working landscape. Dungeness is rendered as a backdrop to the Architectural subject; compliant, malleable, representationally inert. Using gaze-tracking to reveal the structures of this photographic simulacra, the project seeks to restore the act of seeing in Dungeness, in order to restore agency to the seen.

Lying at the threshold of a new territory, the Visitor Centre acts as a calibration device, confronting the Dungeness percept through the staging of directed seeings. Conceived as a product of tracking data, the building may be understood as a mirror, encouraging the visitor to examine the relationship between place and image through the unconscious wandering of the eye. Visual mechanisms are deconstructed within prescriptive internal encounters, establishing Dungeness as the active-subject of the Architectural Photograph. Simultaneously, the layering of translucent space generates unorthodox perspectives for the external observer, restoring viewing-agency in the presence of the image.

The Mechanics of Vision

Eye-tracking was employed as a tool to interrogate the mechanisms of the Architectural Photograph, through its ability to extract fixations from an input image.

The Photographic Set

Architectural objects punctuate the flatness of the Dungeness field. The Centre emerges from the shingle berms, simultaneously urban and landscape

The Staged Interior

The prescriptive interior spaces of the fixation and the saccade employ varying degrees of transparency to regulate gaze and movement, much like the salient features of an image.

The Autonomous Field

The interstitial exterior spaces encourage occupants to move through the landscape, considering the interactions of the Dungeness actors from novel perspectives.