So after reading all the competitions entries for the 2008 Central Glass Competition [one of which we posted earlier] we were presented with the idea of not only preserving but revitilizing the site as well. Taking action on site in a way that creates a life for the future of the site, for many oncoming generations to experience. We want to chose three different sites to work with as a sort of testing ground; one cultural site, one natural site and one that is a mixture of the two. How we decide which of three sites we will chose out of the 878 existing is yet to be determined, but we hope to create a logic behind it, as if we are the curators. From there we want to create a "plug-in device" that will allow for the collection and experience of personal memory. As was stated in my previous entry, building/space is an extension of the past, a trace of a previous time/culture so traveling through and experiencing this space becomes relient on personl memory and intuition; "experience of a space depends on the connected fragmented memories from a past moment of experience". This in a way proves that through collecting people's memories upon visitation of a specific site we will be able to preserve numerous points in time from various different perspectives allowing the site to exist through those memories/experiences for many decades into the future. Therefore does that create a heiarchy of memories, making the older memories more important or valuable then the newer, that I cannot say for sure. So through the layering of these memories we collect wilol we be able to create a site once it is gone completely? [an example of a new technnology that does this in a different way is photosynth, i placed a video about it just a day or two ago, truly amazing].
Another thought was to try and create a new relationship with the world heritage site, a sort of mix between realisitic presence/illusionistic presence on the site itself, creating a new manner of symbolism. We want to create something poetic within the site sinc ein our eyes the concept of memory is quite poetic and beautiful in itself, and we do not want to destory thsi mysteriously magical quality of personal memory but rather enhance its richness. In reaction to this we felt we could begin to operate on the boundaries of these sites rather then on top of them to preserve whatever historical qualities they may already possess. Within these boundaries we intend to work will we create something virtual or real would be the next question, because memory itself is not a solid thing, but rather a layering of experiences stored in the human brain. Therefore the question of how we will approach this addition, this "house for memory" becomes very difficult question.
We spoke with Ken about our questions and fell into the discussion of architecture/design as being poetic versus pragmatic or instrumental; for example with Peter Eisemann's work as Ken put it posses a code behind the design moves he does, creating something within the space that will cause one to think of other things, always making this relationship to something else. This can be directly connected with the idea of buildings as external memory devices, or rather memory structures possesing that trace from the past, forcing one to think back to something else, some other memory or experience which we feel is an interesting concept to fuel design. Looking at our project through this kind of lense creates a new perspective to the insertion in such a way that just through specific designs, how we interact with the existing site, and with the code we program our end result could become more about spatial qualities/analysis then the creation of devices; because if we can hit the nail on the head with simple spatial moves on the sites boundaries we may be able to create a new languagemuch like Eisenmann that will spark the recall of ones personal memories.
Another take on the operative boundaries would be to allow personal memories to determine where the site ends and begins, creating a more dynamic, ephemeral boundary for each site. THis could allow for the boundary to shrink or enlarge as well as be manipulated into various shapes. Because it is interesting that these world heritage sites have such specific boundaries, what deliniates these boundaries? is it the landscape, or the program, or it is just subjective. We both feel the boundary is an extremely important to how each site is sepcifically experienced. For example the second place winner of the competition, Yuka Nakamura made a proposal for an illusionistic translucent bridge that disappears and appears with the tide at the site "Mont Saint-Michel" to serve as a means of creating a new sensibility and relationship to this specific world heritage site as a link between island and land. If you veiw images of this site you will understand why we place such importance on the boundary of a site to its overall affect on the viewer; with this site imparticular if the boundary was moved in the same magical quality of its presence out in the middle of the water would be lost, but because it is viewed from such a distance the impact is much more affective and posses a very unique visual quality and sensibility. So another idea we toyed with was to take a few different sites and start to play with the exisiting boundary lines to create more appeal and make ones experience richer therefore resulting in richer, more prominent memories for the visitor. In a way we could look at this new boundary as the link between the internal memory device that is the existing world heritage site with the external memory devices that are us, humans visiting the site. What becomes of this realtionship is not yet determined but we hope to capture a way of using how we work on this boundary condition as a way of storing and creating a more beautiful, poetic, experience that can be transmitted and stored for future generations and for the future of the site to keep it alive.