BABYLON: THE STAGING OF THE CITY Excerpt
Summer School 2014 Unit 1
Taught by Madeleine Kessler (AADipl2013), Manijeh Verghese (AADipl(Hons)2012) & Elena Palacios Carral (AADipl2012)
29 August 2014
Architectural Association, London
What better way to describe the three-week intensity of Summer School Unit 1 than in the words of our students? Here we present a brief history of Babylon, a city in which London's discarded unbuilt towers become a reality. The cyclical journey of the city is explored through a series of stage sets, at the scale of the city, the tower, the room, and the newspaper. The following excerpts from our weekly newspapers depict Babylon's growth and decline, from its wartorn birth, to peaceable life, and destructive death, as we explored the topic of the unbuilt:
"London, the capital of the United Kingdom, was once a beautiful and charming city. But recent developments of its skyline transformed it into a victim of a creative war. The war was waged between the young and the old, the moralists and the immoralists, the idealists and the egoists. It erupted and continued to destroy the city until all the Victorian wonders were destroyed in entirety.
So, what next? Were we going to give the construction of our new city to the wise and experienced or to the young and quixotic? The answer lay in the balance between the two. The best way to create a new city is to look back at the past and reinvent it. The unbuilt towers of London were unearthed, researched, manipulated and transformed to create a new version of the city - a space that allows for the iconic towers of ego, yet also strives to make architects collaborate to prevent future wars. This new city was what we call Babylon. Once a nickname for London, it had now become its future.
The new skyline of Babylon was dominated by gravity-defying, fluid, inverted, hybrid, panoramic and multi-elevational towering structures. The wild imagination of the quixotic architects gave engineers a run for their money as they turned ink on paper into an experiential reality. Yet while the inhabitants were trying to protect the city from the hands of outside evil, they overlooked a few inside details. The SuperArchitect that had become the vigilante, guarding against the battles of ego that had destroyed London, had grown too fond of his own power. Transforming into a dictator, he initiated a war between the towers of Babylon which heralded the beginning of the city's end.
In order to preserve the last vestiges of Babylon, its essence was stored within a room. The architects whose works had dominated Babylon came together to create a space that they call the room in the city. They tried to recreate the magic of the dying city, arranging millions of kilometres into a space that is little more than a few square metres. Drawing inspiration from the towers they designed, the architects invented this scheme to allow us to experience the genius of their design. Read the newspaper with its profiles, interviews, letters to the editor, horoscopes and obituaries to find out more!"
For more information:
Summer School 2014 - The Unbuilt
Summer School 2014 Unit 1 Brief
Students: Archana Moorthy, Isabella Castro Marques, Medha Bansal, Dhruv Khurana, Nishigandha Sakhardande, Douglas Lee, Abby Liu, Tanvi Gupta, Derek Ho, Baizura Yusof, Eva Ibanez Fuertes & Patricia Moericke Prieto
A big thank you to all our critics and collaborators!