Project 1: One hundred objects
Collect and photograph 100 different objects. Display the photographs or actual objects in an interesting format. Consider how you do this: systematically? By colour, size, shape? or in way that creates a narrative out of the objects?
You can take this project in many ways. You can use it to explore different types of relationship between the object and the way you display it. You can use it to explore how things might be composed or arranged. You can use it to explore how objects can tell a story depending on how you arrange them.
Project 2: five hundred museums
You should produce ideas for 100 different museums, be working in 5 teams of mixed Dip 1 and Dip 2, led by a Dip 2 student. You will almost certainly need to generate at least 300-500 ideas in order to get 100 good ones per team.
Be extensive. You will find lots of really unusual museums already exist as well as having to make some up. You might start by working through all the museums you know and have visited — the ones you think are boring as well as the ones you think are interesting. Think of how you would provide a quick sketch description of the British Museum, say – a classical temple filled with stolen archaeology? Or the Natural History Museum — a state-of-the-art Victorian shed filled with dinosaurs? You may find these are more ‘interesting’ than you think.
Think critically and inventively about what museums are. Is it a building? How big? What type of architecture? Where is it; how do you get there? Who goes, which bits can they get to? How are things displayed? Can you use them, touch them, interact with them — or do have have to sign in to a special room only for academics? What is it called?
In this project we are more interested in you thinking widely about what museums might be than trying to do a clever presentation – the content, the ideas about the museums are what is most interesting here; and this exercise will form the basis of everyone’s final proposals, so make sure you produce a huge range of interesting ideas rather than spending all your time trying to pull off a clever trick of presentation.
But in this group you should always also think inventively and critically about what the best way to both do this exercise – and then present it. This should not take over from considering the content of the work, it is something you should be using and adapting as you go along. A series of 100 sketches, well organized and presented so that they help discuss your ideas would be a good outcome. Sitting round a table with your group with a stack of same-sized bits of paper, which you stick straight on the wall, would be a sensible way to start. But you might also try modeling things quickly (see Fischli and Weiss, ‘Suddenly This Overview” is a great, funny example) or invent other techniques of your own. As you work you should try assessing, grouping, rethinking these museums – Which are the most successful? are there groups or types? Do they need to be better drawn? Or presented in a different format? Which are you going to present? Can the presentation format/ the size/ the medium help develop this critical classification?
We will work on this in the studio in your groups on Monday, though you will need to finish and finalise your 100 museums
Project 3: Patterns, symmetries and reflections
Those of you who were in the studio last year will recognize this one.
To do this exercise, you will need to read the chapter on symmetries in George L. Hersey’s book Architecture and Geometry in the Age of the Baroque. This explains the many different types of symmetry which you will need to recognize and understand. These symmetries are the basis of all the geometrical work you will be doing this year. (so it is probably worth buying the book!)
1) Take a recognisable image/s or object/s subject it/them to all of these types of symmetry in order to generate patterns. Work first by applying each kind of symmetry to your object; then gradually experiment to combine the various tactics to build up a range of several different types of patterns. These patterns and these tactics will be used throughout the rest of the project to generate and analyse all parts of your projects, so you should take care to make beautiful and interesting patterns or a wide range of types, scales, colours, levels of details and complexity, formal variations. Be bold and experimental. Last year, we found that objects with a strong and recognizable outline but with a degree of detail and delicacy worked far the best for this. You can find many examples on the openstudiowestminster DS15 homepage under ‘patterns’
2) Invent a reflection machine. Examples of existing reflection machines are mirrors, kaleidescopes, camera obscura. Again some examples can be found on the DS15 home page.
Project 4: Five Fragments of Museums
Using the patternmaking techniques you are starting to develop, reinterpret five separate fragments of museums taken from your 100 Museums study.
These fragments should include things like:
A façade or fragment of façade;
A masterplan or city plan;
An interior space;
A detail relating specifically to the display or mtairal eg a display case or means of displaying object or objects;
A structural element
You can use the patterns that you have already started to develop, but as advised in the pin-up session, you should all be working to develop more patterns – a wider range of patterns, often using different objects and different techniques — which you can then re-read and develop further to make these five fragments of museum.
Your museums should inevitably change as you start to apply these patternmaking techniques. Both patterns and museums should develop and change! For instance, the urban plan of the Forbidden City ; the portico of the British Museum or the display of tombstones hanging from the ceiling may change format and take on new and different qualities when re-worked using these tactics of symmetries. Remember that you can use the simplest as well as the most complex of the ideas you have been experimenting with; and the tactics being developed in the reflection machines too.
Project 5: Lots of models
Everyone now has some great examples of pattern work and some tentative steps about how they might be re-interpreted as fragments of architecture. You should all continue to develop these techniques: developing the ideas you are exploring (as directed in your most recent presentations) and in most cases continuing to create, re-interpret, develop and re-thing new ones.
At all times, keep your mind open: patterns you have developed as a column may work best as a plan. patterns you though were a plan may work best as a city. Your patterns may work better than the more conventional ideas you are trying to apply to them. Systems or tactics you have invented which which were not directly part of the brief may need exploring. Try re-naming and re-reading drawings in a number of different ways. Ask your friends and coleagues what they think your drawings look like. Try Skype tutorials with each other if you’re not working in the same place.
At the same time, start making models of these spaces/plans/objects/patterns. Use a wide range of modelling techniques: card, paper, clay, casting, carving etc as well as 3d printing/ lasercutting. Try the same thing in more than one way. Your objects/ spaces/ structures/patterns will inevitably change as the medium changes. Exploit this to the full. Allow the new techniques to inform how you develop the models. They do not have to match the original drawing. Nothing is fixed yet; you are generating techniques and tactics rather than making a fixed design.
In all cases – drawings and models – think about the item as a presentation piece: make it as beautifully as you can whether it’s a quick sketch/plasticine model or the most highly crafted and finished piece. Think how you present /frame/crop/ lay it out ; think about scale and form, material and printing etc.
Project 6: Site visit: Berlin
Working in groups, you should prepare so that you can take advantage of whatever time you are able to spend in Berlin. You should organise your research in your groups so that you don’t duplicate work, but can share information between you. Each group will also be responsible for providing information / organising visits for the whole group.
Group allocation is as follows:
Group A – Alison, Alex, Alex and Adam
The site, which is the site of the (now demolished) Volkspalast. You need information on the history of the site, plans, current and at various stages in history, on the building itself, on the former palace which stood on the site, and previous plans for the area (Schinkel etc) There may be overlaps with other groups eg DDR, Museum Island etc. Negotiate!
Group D/E- Dan, Demi, Ed, Ellie, Emma
Museums – especially Museum Island but also a selection of museums elsewhere. You’ll be organising the visits to key museums as well as giving general information on other museums people mike like to visit, and obviously the wider research you can do, the better. There may be overlaps with building group and site group- negotiate! But you should organise the Chipperfield museum visit
Group G+ Grace, George, Preet. Jackie
Urban history of Berlin — maps showing the urban history would be helpful, and basically, we want the development of the city—up to date, so including what happened post-reunification; so including looking at areas like Prenzlauerberg and Potsdamerplatz which have changed radically in the last few years. Negotiate with DDR group on who does what there…
Group M+ Manish, Martyna, Matt, Natalia, Olly
History of the DDR. As extensive research as you can manage to make sure we are reasonably well informed and that we get to see some of the key sites, areas, etc etc A good tour would be helpful (I think some are available, but you may need to add your own visits to key buildings or areas eg Fernseherturm etc. There are also many museums (DDR, Checkpoint Charlie etc etc), ostalia shops and bars – wide
Group S/V Sian, Sonia, Vicky, Vic
Other buildings – a bit of negotiation with other groups because there are many sites and great buildings to see in Berlin. But of particular interest geometrically are Scharoun’s Philharmonie and Bibliotek (part of an uncompleted masterplan) which it is ESSENTIAL that we visit and know something of the geometry underlying it. I think there are tours; sort this out. Mies Neue Nationalgalerie, and Libeskind’s Extension of the Berlin Museum with the Jewish Museum. All three need a visit and some information and though about the different ways of using geometries which lie behind them.
Project 7: Five exhibits, five installations, five site strategies
You should now be starting to speculate on how all your various ideas – 100 objects, 100 museums, patterns and geometry, architectural fragments and approached might be used to generate a new kind of museum on the site and int the context which you have now seen.
Review the work you did and the visits you made in Berlin. Think about what you have seen and identify at least fifteen key things for each of you to discuss on Thursday, in relation to how you will now start developing your museum.
This work will be largely you selecting key images, sketches, photos and ideas from the visit to Berlin. You should present at least:
Five means of display.
You have now visited many museums, installations etc dealing specifically with the subject of Berlin. What were the best examples of how items, objects etc were displayed? Select, present and discuss a wide and ambitious range of examples which you found, of different scales, types, sizes.
Key examples might include:
Whole fragments of stolen archaeology reconstructed inside museums, and forming part of that museum themselves (as in Pergamon .
The Altes Museum also used the building itself as a displayed object, as well as items in various kinds of decorative ‘cases’ of course; and the door which was part of the old museum on one side and a ‘displayed’ item on the other, staircase side. The time-lapse photos in the Altes were an interesting example where the museum building and one exhibit in it were following the same ‘palimpsest’ idea.
There are many other examples: The DDR museum made you interact with objects which were ‘everyday’ rather than ‘precious’; guides often played a key role; on the side itself, temporary blocks acted as exhibitions and also acted as billboards for what had been there in the past and would be there in the future.
Concentrate on this part of the work, and make sure everyone is in early, keeping the work pinned up, so that we can all share the information.
At the same time, you should start thinking (more quickly at this stage) about two other aspects:
Five site strategies:
Think about different ways you could put a large museum onto that site. Where would you place it? What form should it take? Should it be one big block or a series of smaller interventions? Should it act as interpretation for city, or act as a classic museum? How should it relate in scale, massing, section etc to the site? To the surrounding buildings, the other museums, to the scale and height of the buildings around, to the vanished forms of demolished buildings or potential, but unbuilt, projects which were to have occupied the site?
What will your DDR museum contain? Select five key items which might be displayed in your museum. These may be things you saw on the trip, they may be things you found in previous research. hey may be physical objects, ‘real’ things, reconstructions, models, photos, installations, etc. They should range in size, type, means of display; from tiny items to architectural scale items like whole sections of buildings; and may therefore have entirely different display possibilities. What kind of museum does this suggest?
For these last two exercises — Which geometrical strategies and other tactics you have already identified might help you ? Symmetry, patternmaking, physical geometrical form? Can they help you deal with organising items at different scales? with laying out thousand of tiny items or oragnising vast ones?
None of these categories is entirely separate from the other each will start informing the other.
Come in in good time and pin up at least 15 examples each. We want to collet a pool of ideas which everyone can use as well as developing your own project; someone else may have seen a display or object which may give you ideas which are essential to your own work. Bring everything with you so you can refer to photos, skecthes etc which may come up in discussion. Select and print your best and most interetsing photos, souvenirs, Make small sketches or diagram to clarify and illustrate your ideas.
Project 8: (Work Leading Up To) One Museum
You all now have a vast array of material, information, tactics, ideas and work-in- progress, and you should now start thinking how to combine, select and start developing this work to form your own proposal for a museum of the DDR. This project will continue until the end of the year, and from now on you will be developing your own project tactics. Briefs are more likely to be to do with presentation techniques, hand-in requirements and general information. To do this, you should all continue to develop the work and the tactics which you have already developed. This is not a new stage of the work, it is a continuation, developments and combination of all the tactics you have been already using. For the crit, we will expect to see the work you were already doing and the full range of tactics you were already using developed further, as the substance of this new phase of work.
For example, the 100 objects may help you think about how you select, present and display exhibits. The 100 museums are full of tactics and observations you will be able to use and develop yourself. The patternmaking and the reflection machines gives you a wealth of techniques which you can use for exploring alternative plans, sections, details, facades, movement diagrams etc etc, and re-reading the many possibilities that they may suggest. The models in particular need further development to explore how these idea may be combines and used differently as three dimensional form and with material characteristics. The site studies: urban history, DDR, Site, Museums are also key to this new phase of work and should be completed and fully presented as part of the crit.
For the crit, you must show ALL of the development work so far: the 100 objects the 100 museums, the patterns, the reflection machines, the architectural fragments, the models, the site studies, and the work you have done since, selecting fragments, the site studies and research, approaches to the site, exhibits and ways of exhibiting. Select your best work for pin-up but be fairly inclusive and make sure that ALL your work is on hand, even the stuff you have decided not to show.
Select this work now, in advance, and decide how to pin it up. Second guess what your critics will say, and think how you can use your best material from all stages — think broadly about how all kinds of aspects of the earlier work might help you develop your own proposals. Re-visit and develop earlier fragments, ideas for plans or sections, ideas about types of museums, etc, for this site and with this brief. Work those pieces up so that they begin to help develop your ideas.
Don’t worry too much about having a single clear idea for a museum at this stage, what we want to see is a wealth of intriguing and beautifully presented fragments, idea, suggestions, observations about how your museum might work with potential to be further developed, combined etc, rather than a clear but reductive single idea.
Be inclusive about what you pin up – everyone should have at least twice as much work as they put up last time, and probably more. Remember only one person on your crit panel will have seen any of the work you have done, (either Sean or Kester) and they will be busy taking notes. Remember that you all have a wide range of sometimes excellent but always interesting work to show them, and that the purpose of this crit is to get feedback, suggestions and advice on all your work so far, not just the bit you’re thinking about at the moment. Pin up beautifully. Make sure you print out at a scale that can be seen by people whose eyesight is not as good as yours.
Project 9:1 More models
you should make (at least)three models of parts of your project.
* One should be at the scale of the whole building and be shown on site. (however roughly)
* One should be at the scale of an exhibit and/or structural element; ie it should explore how one exhibit relates to the space in which it is shown
* One should be a component — eg a bit of tiling, wall, structure etc.
These models should be the same sort of thing as the better examples of earlier models. The should follow up on techniques and ideas of earlier stages of work: the patterns, the reflection machines, the 100 museums. Like them, they should be experimental, using a range of different techniques and materials: casting, laser-cutting, hand-cutting, carving, etc etc. Like them, you may find that things which you conceived of as plan work better as a window detail, or a perspective, or a section, or a bit of facade, or a tiling system. Be critical and flexible.
However at this stage you do already have a brief, ideas for layout, ideas for display etc. you should develop and test these models to scale, as things which have a structure and materiality which can become realistic. Show them on site, to scale, in mixed media, attempt to sketch the results as fragments of plan, section etc.
Project 9:2 One hundred parts of your museum
Everyone needs to complete, and continue to develop your models. Work outwards from the pieces you have made. How are they made, how do they work structurally, how do they join together. If you have made a wall, think of the structure the openings, the signs, the spaces, the structure which interact with it. Almost no one has shown the exhibits in the building. From now on we will not look at work which doesn’t show your museum’s exhibits as an integrat part of your design.
This week we are asking you to do 100 drawings of your museum. You have a huge range of material at your disposal, but firt of all start by looking back at your 100 museums study. These contain sketch ideas about display, iconography, setting, scale, storage, narrative, plan, section, elevation, visitor experience, architectural quality. You should be easily able to do the equivalent 100 drawings for your own museum.
This should take the form of a walk-through, storyboard, or series of detailed studies/views of your building.
To do this, look at the full range of your work so far. Look at how you displayed objects and think how you might display DDR objects. Look at the museums you have studied and think how they display artefacts, group information, organise circulation etc and how you might use and develop their ideas. Look at the information you have about the DDR and thing which are the most meaningful, effectsive, etc, how they change depending on how you group thm, display them, move through them etc. Look at the site and the city and the buildings around, your site strategies, the skyline, the public spaces etc. Look at the pattern work and the models and think how you might make, combine and re-read these etc. As you do all this, sketch what you are thinking.
Then you need to arrange these so that they describe the building as a whole. You may do this as a timeline or storyboard. Or you may arrange the drawings around a plan. You may include other images as well as (NOT instead of) the 100 images. The layout and presentation is up to you but it should be beautiful, inclusive and easy to read. The idea is that you ‘walk us through” the buildings, and that we can ‘read’ this journey on the wall—without you having to do any talking at all.