German Ruhr Valley, catalogs, dissects, speculates, projective character, formal and spatial miscalibrations
This thesis pays homage to the longevity of the ordinary yet iconic elements of the German Ruhr Valley, aiming to bring its functionally obsolescent architectural characters to the forefront of design analysis. The investigation catalogs, dissects, and speculates a series of conditions that arise from the mixed array of economic, geographic, and cultural pressures of the contemporary Ruhr Valley. Rather than merely describing and critiquing the found industrial objects, a series of paradigms visualize a fictitious world in which a family of could-be-architectures can take stage. They act as prototypes for unspecified places while still exploring the consequences of their previous cultural actions and uses. In this, the thesis contention becomes just as interested in the visual as in the formal, capable of creating new realities and artificial natures through architectural motifs. It packages a set of formal objects ready to enter the canon of the architectural discourse, with projective character as their strongest weapon.
Projective character is understood to be achieved through the precise miscalibration of everyday objects, be it through scale, copies, or image. These techniques de-familiarize the everyday as a means to remove it far enough to see it anew. The process is culturally specific while its outcome often bears an illogical relationship to use. With the mass exit of industry from the Ruhr, the industrial objects of the region become a vehicle for formal and spatial miscalibrations: a stage for contemporary projective character.
In this, I chose to investigate the Ruhr via a series of smaller paradigms. It is not an exhausted list, but rather a confined visual series. Together, the visuals straddle the line between real and unreal through precise and specific miscalibrations of scale and image. Depending on the model at stake, the miscalibrated objects at hand are moved, tilted, gathered, disoriented, magnified, hidden, and/or crutched in order to cast new smaller narratives on their surroundings. Together, they present a cross-section of examples to prove the benefit of projective character and the specific circumstances, techniques, and cultural requirements in producing it.
Beaudoin, Sarah Catherine, "Casting Contradictive Landscapes: The objects of an Obsolescent* Future" (2019). Architecture Senior Theses. 437.
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