Suspending an Acclivity

Par Deshayes Charlotte, Dürig Alexander, Hausel Anna, Sills Sophie, 19/11/19

The meeting of a horizontal and a vertical plane. The Rolex Learning Center. A reference to Measures.

A common denominator: Levitation.

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Taken by the way the Rolex Center seemed to rise up and separate from the ground, we began to study this acclivity.

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After modelling potentials, we found a few integral elements to the project, as well as a coherent form for our project to take. 

The "integral elements":

  • A curved plane that follows the initial curve of the Rolex above head height.
  • This plane is suspended from the vertical plane.
  • The vertical plane is formed by columns of the same, or similar, composition to those of last year's Houses project.
  • A structural horizontal plane that supports the vertical and hold the cables.
  • The length of this must be at least two paces to encourage movement.

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The "coherent form":

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The model on site:

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A new axis: Movement.

More people walk alongside the building than towards it, at least during our alignment to the beginning of the curve. 

Stepping up onto the raised platform, we enter the interior of the project. The curved plane rises, opening the space under it, the curve of the base also curves outward. Two paces, and a oblique curve dangling above. The juncture of the vertical and the horizontal uncertain, merely touching, unattached. There is no new space created by it. The joint is simply a perimeter of the extent of the interior, the two-dimensional limit separating in from out.

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Having calculated we would need 80m of wood to complete this project in real size, we decided to alter it somewhat. First of all, we simplified the base, removing the solid layer of wood, just keeping the framework that stabilises the pillars. We also chose to add a system of supporting joints to keep them upright. The mass of the original base having been the stabilising element of the structure, we realised that balance needed to be reinstalled. So we duplicated our hovering plane, the two twin planes framing the Rolex's acclivity. This opened up a new door to our project, adding a new aspect of movement, a tension between the hanging planes and strengthening the relationship with the RLC.

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We also decided to reduce the size of the pillars by 0.5m. This length is also the difference between the heights of the two suspended planes. On site, originally, the "curves" would aline with the Rolex behind it. 

Additionally we experimented with the materiality and the shape of the curved planes by making 1:10 models in plaster.

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The final construction:

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The project overall reminds us of the for of Joel Shapiro's Almine Rech exhibition:

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The sentence that was most often spoken:

"But, how will that hold?"

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