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This project takes the fundamental relationship between bodies and architecture as the starting point for unabashed speculation through filmic representations and haptic forms of making. The DS25 studio I was a part of deals with ‘Body Architecture’ by utilizing the concept of ‘Body Agents’, which can be described as figural representations that serve to explore architectural possibilities, as well as offering up non-informative ideas of the body in architecture. Using elements from De Chirico’s paintings, the project explores how memory can be triggered by the surreal.

In creating a hybrid, the goal was to bring key elements from both worlds - what would it look like if the surreal objects from De Chirico’s works began to gain sentience and inhabit modernist archictecture such as that which was pioneered by the New York Five architects? This would serve as the primary basis for a narrative.

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The narrative thus follows - there exists 3 worlds - Canvas Land, or the land where De Chirico’s paintings reside, Mile End, the land of unorthodox architecture, and, somewhere where the two worlds meet, Isle End, a fictional land which imposes De Chirico’s paintings on the inhabitants of Mile End. The winged buildings are fragments of architecture seeking to bring the inhabitants of Canvas Land back to Mile End.

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Isle End is a re-imagination of Mile End if Mile End were to be altered by the presence of the mannequins. At the entrance of the site the surrounding houses form the back drop. As one progresses through the site, these houses are transformed into roman arcades which are a signature part of De Chirico’s world.The platform becomes the new waiting point for passengers waiting to board the train, which represents the trainline that runs through the actual site.


Having transformed the site, the mannequins create a monument in which to settle. By using a canvas as a base of work, I recreate characteristics of De Chirico’s paintings. This represents Canvas Land. This is populated by mannequins as well as the typical roman arcades and long shadows. The architectural language is developed through an analysis of modernist archetypes found in the works of Peter Eisenmann and other members of the New York Five.

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I took inspiration from an ancient story about the Greek lyric poet Simonides. As a renowned figure in his field, he was invited to house of a wealthy nobleman by the name of Scopas, where he would honour him by devoting a poem to his name. However, as it was customary, Simonides dedicated the second half of his poet to the Greek gods Castor and Pollux. 

As a result, a livid Scopas decided he would only pay half the amount he initially intended. Simonides was then summoned outside by two mysterious messengers. No sooner had he walked out of the hall when the building collapsed on all who remained at the banquet, crushing and killing them instantly. Not only that, but they had become so disfigured from the incident that their loved ones could not make out who was who from the crowd of bodies. 

However, Simonides was able to list every single one of them, by order at which they were sat at the table. It follows that he had a system of remembering things whereby he could place memory into objects (or as he called them, memory loci) and the arrangements would preserve the order of the facts of the memory.

Architecture can act as a memory loci - its materials, arrangements and forms all store memory and this memory can be placed in different areas as desired by its user.

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The five rhetorics of memory are a summary of a technique of memory and retention attributed to the ancient Greek lyricist Simonides. I theorise that an architecture that embodies these five steps could help rehabiliate people with forms of memory loss, such as Alzheimers. 

I attribute the five rhetorics to the five major parts of the brain, and if each part of the brain is stimulated by its corresponding rhetoric throughout the architecture, it standsto believe that perhaps one’s memory could be trained and improved in such a fashion.

1. Invention 
The process of developing and refining your arguments

2. Disposition
The process of arranging and organizing your arguments for maximum impact.

3. Elocution 
The process of determining how you present your arguments

4. Memory 
The process of learning and memorizing your speech so you can deliver it without the use of notes

5. Delivery 
The process of practicing how you deliver your speech using gestures, pronunciation, and tone.

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In order to transform the rhetorics into architecture, I used previously explored forms as these were derived from incorporating De Chirico’s philosophies and would enrich the design of the spaces. Invention is the art of creating and stimulates the frontal lobe. This would thus serve as a workshop area where the users can paint and make models. Using the form of the mannequin attaching itself to the architecture. I began to explore how this could become a space realised from fragments, as if they were the fragments of one’s creativity coming together.

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The concept of disposition is based on arrangement. The arrangement will be useful for making it easier for those with memory loss to navigate the building without getting lost. The architectural concept is developed by placing a grid over the mannequin. Using the mannequin as a center piece sculpture, the grid the spreads out from the core. The core will act as a hub and allow ease of navigation around .

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The core idea of this space was to play around with the an architectural style that was quite distinct from the previous spaces and that begins to incorporate elements of the surreal De Chiricean environments as they begin to merge into the architecture.

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The archives not only act as a colllection of memories, they also serve as an exhibition of the objects that store memory within them. By depositing your memory in an object and storing it in a specific place, that place becomes a memory bank of sorts, as the space helps rekindle lost memories over time.

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For the community area, the theme is all about bringing a community together and integration. I wanted to reflect this in the design by showing how the mannequins become more integrated with the structure. The ground floor has a prominent stair case - a huge tesselated structure that mimics the triangular forms of the mannequins, with parts of it sticking out. This leads all the way up to the roof, which is now occupied by hanging mannequins. The evolution of this concept can be seen on the right, which shows the rest of the spaces are occupied.

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