Fragments of Archiving is the Master’s Thesis by Tasos Theodorakakis supervised by Hannah Corlett for the MA Architecture and Historic Urban Environments at the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London.
Το πρότζεκτ Fragments of Archiving είναι η διπλωματική εργασία του Τάσου Θεοδωρακάκη υπό την επίβλεψη της Hannah Corlett για το μεταπτυχιακό πρόγραμμα Architecture and Historic Urban Environments του Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London.
What is the nature and role of historic sites in cities today?
How could we re-use them?
What part of their nature should we preserve or forget?
The work explores the above concerns through a compositional exercise at such a palimpsestuous place in the City of London; in the public garden of St. Dunstan-in-the-East, a park in a ruin that stands as what’s been left of the former St. Dunstan-in-the-East Church. The intention here is not simply to preserve the existing, nor to oppose the new layer to the old. The thesis attends to explore how this layer could become a tool for both preserving such an environment and at the same time encouraging further transformation in the future. It is more like a ‘Progressive Preservation’.
Visiting different archival centres, making a thorough online research, reading different reports of different times, along with tracing drawings, sketches and old photographs, an understanding of the various ways of documenting and their importance when dealing with historic buildings was attained. Furthermore, the research developed a ‘mosaic of information’, which consists of all these layers of documentation in order to understand and further document or re-use such a place. This historic mosaic of the building, works as a foundation in connecting today’s traces that are found on the site with the different events of the church’ s past, leading to their “historic stratification”. For the precision this research demanded, the site was surveyed using a 3D scanner, a contemporary way of documenting, which produced a three -imensional replica on the site, making possible the detection of any visible trace and detail.
The site is proposed to become an archive of its own documented history; a place of exploration where the archive is both the historic objects and the building itself. An Archive of the place’s Archiving! An Archive of the way we Archive! This archive centre should consist of fragmental experiences of documentation, of ‘multiple realities’ and interpretations of the ruin, of archiving and tracing it, in a similar way that the journey from a sketch to a final 3D replica constantly adds pieces to the mosaic of understanding a historic environment. The new topography treats the site as ‘a garden of archive’, while at the same time it adds on to create a new archive centre of the church’s history. The ground and the ruin are being treated in such way so as to reveal the church’s traces and fragments, to generate multiple readings of the events that have taken place, and at the same time to provide a new reading of the surrounding city. The topography, basic urban gazes, and the geometry of the site are elements that define the proposal. The intervention is consisted of two layers. A surface that constructs the new ‘ground’ of the site and a ‘monolith’ which is placed inside the church’ s former main body and is suspended from the ground.
The intervention acts as a form of collage on the existing. It serves as a vehicle that observes and comprehends the site’s history while at the same time it acts as an indicator of observing and comprehending the surrounding city’s history.
– edited text provided by the author
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