10 May 2019
Architectural Association, London
Demolition by stealth: Unbuilding architecture to build paper
Blasieholmen is a peninsula owned by Stockholm’s municipality, embodying the city’s historical function as a shipping, trade and industry hub. A part of it is currently under consideration for renovation and revival. In the face of conflicting architectural proposals, conservation officers have developed strong restrictions in order to retain the spirit of the site.
The proposed strategy adopts an indirect approach in tackling the project. It investigates the potential of using paper as a construction material, in order to create subtle changes to Blasieholmen’s two early twentieth-century timber warehouses. Those changes will be applied over time to achieve ‘demolition by stealth’.
Innovative fabrication techniques are implemented to reach the desired outcome. The process begins by casting the entirety of the existing facades with paper. The warehouses are then gradually deconstructed from the inside. The reclaimed timber is transformed on-site into paper that is fed back into the expanding three-dimensional structure which over time and through layering is able to support itself. As such, the building is able to feed on itself from the waste that it creates.
As the environment acts on the surfaces, the paper materials of the building are broken down at different rates, thereby requiring continual adjustments and revisions.
The building becomes a kind of a palimpsest. It is an archival case bearing visible traces of its earlier form, perpetually manifesting itself, rather than remaining a mere historical representation.
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