by Gleb Sheykin, AA 3rd Year Intermediate Unit 7
21 May 2015 Architectural Association, London   THE RIVER OF FAÇADES: A Depository of Stolen Images   Preservation is rapidly becoming an obsession, where the most recent and undistinguished structures are immediately preserved and speculated to be valuable in the future, while facades with the most historic and cultural value are violated or “cloned,” adding to the absurdities of the authentic versus the reproducible.   The aim of the larger project is to suggest an anti-preservation strategy, focused on the façade as the most legible element of the historical and cultural image of the city. My aim is to preserve the most important quality of Berlin - its ability to constantly reinvent itself. I exaggerate that quality through series of fictional scenarios from the heist and processing of façades to their release, and how that longer process involves a set of victim sites as well as a speculative façade depository.   This vast exchange will accumulate a bank of both historical and contemporary façades by stealing them from the city, and thus affecting their value as well as rescuing these fragments from conventional intervention. Further, beyond simply curating and storing the facades, I render them as a dynamic element to test how they could interact with other samples, and thus create a new drive for architectural experimentation and construction in Berlin. In my technical study, I closely follow the fates of key sample façades from three target sites, and focus on a series of infrastructural, mechanical and services inventions - suggesting that the theoretical conjectures are also feasible. Once the facade crosses the long depository “river” and is either returned to its original site or forwarded to catalyse another, the legibility of whether it is an original, a fake or a re-invented version is blurred.   Overall, my technical study design project uncovered the persistent tension between a project and a building. The transitions between fantastical dream and harsh reality, theoretical speculation and practical intervention could become the purpose and the drive of the project. My depository can be seen as both a diagrammatic and literal machine, which forced me to both sharpen my position on preservation and renewal and also to refine my approach to specific material elements.   For more information: Intermediate 7 Unit Brief List of TS High Passes 2015