05 October 2013
Architectural Association, London
Unit four took the myth of Narcissus as a tool; a way to think about three important ingredients;
– the protagonist, as Narcissus, or the architect in waiting
– the water, as the reflective surface which allowed Narcissus to understand his own image
– and finally the environment, in which Narcissus sat
Using these three ingredients, the students of unit four were asked to consider their own narcissism and its relation to the environment.
Of the work presented, two projects stood in almost complete opposition.
The work of Ruby Lanesman showed the protagonist completely detached from the environment, rendering the environment momentarily irrelevant and invisible, as the object of study became the protagonist herself. The self turned, twisted and transformed of its own accord.
In contrast, Carmen Briffa showed the protagonist attached to the environment. Once again the protagonist was twisted and turned however the environment never left the story and twisted and turned along with her.
These, like many of the other works which were undertaken, grappled with a difficult and hopefully joyful self involved problem of how we, as architects, might place ourselves within and eventually relate to our environments.
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Sylvie Taher is a London-based writer and architect. She graduated from the AA in 2011 where she wrote a thesis entitled “Architects Versus the City or the Problem of Chaos.” Sylvie has written for Blueprint, Publica, AA Files and The Architectural Review. She currently teaches History and Theory at the AA and is a freelance writer.
Jon Lopez studied architecture at Cambridge University before studying at the AA. Graduating in 2011, he won a prize for the best technical thesis in his graduating class. He recently set up his own London-based practice, OMMX, and is interested in 1:1 fabrication as well as material testing.