Dean Pike, a London based architect is exhibiting at the Royal Academy and has kindly sent us some information on one of his ongoing projects:
"I was interested in designing a building that had an uncanny property while remaining a recognisable social and tectonic reality.
I took the theme of ‘the pocket’ and elaborated it physically and spatially. My analysis of Westminster showed a world of lobbies, tea-rooms and spaces within spaces creating an interior labyrinth for intrigue and negotiation; an antidote to the banal correlation between democracy and transparency.
I started the process by designing a single pocket; drawing and making this at 1:1. This was a response to a poem about the relationship between memory and forgetfulness. Pockets are like miniature stores for memories. The vast quantity of overlapping pockets creates confusion and disorientation. This idea led to the design of a shirt constructed entirely from pockets - like the feathers of a bird. It became the spatial idea for a building interior - the tactile qualities of pocket interiors offer comfort and luxury - like an Adolfo Loos interior.
I began exploring the idea of a building without an exterior. To make this work I concentrated on making large models of interiority only; an ensemble of fragments that collectively portrayed the interior sequence of rooms and spaces. They became like masks that could be experienced internally.
The large scale wrappings of Christo & Jeane Claude were particularly inspiring - the elegance of the way spaces are draped and technical challenges of working with fabric to create large fabric enclosures -how to join material, different stitch types, folds and pleats for stiffening etc....
The eventual program was for a council for Camden Market. Council buildings are interesting because of their internal spatial density. Rooms that lead into rooms, that lead up to other rooms. Corridors were omitted, with rooms adding to the overall depth of secrecy. Using the language and structure of the existing market, a camouflaged environment of leather draperies is created where the politics of market trade and Camden interweave.
Darkness became important and enhanced aspects of secrecy. Beneath tough outer casings of leather, are a world of soft frills and folds, as layer upon layer is tailored into walls and space."
Dean Pike RIBA
There is an interesting challenge in representing a series of interiors that could only, it seems, be experienced individually and sequentially, the views become sliced and abstracted and float apart into a vacuum of darkness. There is something of the theatre to the mood a sense of anticipation.