The aim of this year's project was to recognize circumstance within a journey, to give place to a location in passing. From a transitory point of view, to position a displaced movement.
The journey would be that of packing a suitcase. On the one hand this would bring about, from the beginning, concepts of storage and occupation of space; on the other, issues of a very different nature arise; since this is an activity charged with meaning: clothing plays a fundamental role in the formation of identity.
The first series of investigations concentrated on recognizing the circumstances in the notion of packing. Early on it became apparent that the site was of a double nature: packing takes place in the suitcase as much as in the clothes that fill it. Simultaneously both of these undergo a spatial transformation.
Garments, in order to accommodate to the logic of suitcase storage, are folded. Their three-dimensional nature for cladding bodies is compressed as far as possible into two-dimensional elements. Yet an economy of folds is desired so that, when clothes recover their original state, there are few traces of what they went through.
The issues raised by this exploration were condensed into an assemblage. The elements of this assemblage were a folded piece, the strategy for its occupation of space and a person that performed this “score.”
The piece still maintained a reference to clothing, its shape derived from a garment incorporating different stages of the folding process. Its material, a fabric, kept with the texture of clothing while also serving as evidence of the successive folds, by its degree of translucency depending on the superposition of layers. Around the folded piece a series of markings provided a set of instructions that guided its gradual unfolding. This marking also hinted at ephemeral territories and potential spaces.
The person following these instructions performed a choreography that recreated the temporal spaces and the movements of packing.
All this baggage was transported to Barcelona where it informed the building project. Some of the connections were quite literal. Just like garments, the texture of the city generated a continuous fabric and, most obviously in the old quarter of the city, spaces were generated in between the foldings of this fabric. Varying in scale, these folds enclosed streets and widened to create a square. Or the fabric would fold on itself, in the middle of the urban texture, generating patios. The perception of this space is gradual, as in a sequence shot, the appropriation of space is successive and often partial. Buildings become textural; their totality perceived as an additive sequence. When a change of scale widens the field of vision, like a cut to a long shot, the first facade appears momentarily only to resume the procession of sequential fragments.
The building program is a film archive, a place where fragments of identity are stored. It is articulated as variations of two functions that are ways of storing and ways of retrieving (watching) the films, from the most formal to the informal, from the massive to the individual. The site is one of the spaces created by folds of the urban fabric, a square at the back of the Picasso Museum. Even though it is adjacent to a famous institution, this open space in a densely built area of Barcelona is rather derelict.
As in the assemblage, where there was a set of instructions, a folded piece, and an interpreter, in the building project there is a space of projection, a projection, and an audience.
The urban fabric naturally conforms a continuous screen, in the project every surface of the container is potentially a space of projection. A first measure to adapt this strategy for the site was to analyze the structure of the existing texture, considering the continuous fabric as an abstract screen separating two fields. The building proposal consolidates this projection space and provides the set of instructions as to the possible new uses for this square aiming at a difficult equilibrium between the present uses and an assertion of the new institution.
The markings for the spaces of projection include the positioning of benches, the dimension of elements hinting at further uses and the location of screening devices to reduce the intromission with the inhabitants of the square.
The projections generate a series of temporary spaces, hinted at by the markings, which conform ephemeral territories. Despite being ephemeral, these territories form a substantial portion of the building’s functions. Just like the folded piece, the building is revealed gradually as these ephemeral territories unfold.