The process of Ruin

22 Nov 2018

The process of Ruin

Year – 2018
Research Line - Space|Time
Associated Project -
Primary School "Professor Manuel Gaião"

Partners - Albuquerque Goinhas, Cristina de Mendonça, Nuno Griff

Photography - MTG (Mercês Tomaz Gomes)

Do models get old? Do they cease to represent space? Or do they continue their function over time and allow us to test duration as well as space? Such questions arose in a context in which we are surrounded by models in our office, some of them brand new, others old and decaying.

This specific model was made many years ago as a tool to test and research the ongoing project of a school in the city of Cascais, the Manuel-Gaião Primary School. The model was made at an advanced project detailing phase and the goals were both to test materialities and to help communicate relations between the chosen materiality and spatial boundaries.

Unfortunately, in a period of reallocation of resources, the project was cancelled at the last minute by the City Council and never built as intended. As such, the model, as a physical spatial container, was the nearest we could get to the building. Inhabiting the space was only possible through a mental effort of scale.

After 9 years the model had become a time-scale ruin, replicating the building after 90 years of use, an abandoned and worn out edifice. No longer inhabitable, it stood as a marker of the passage of time.

The disciplinary issue of time is an issue of human self-perception as a transitory element. The effort of architecture is therefore an effort to control not only a portion of space but also crucially to control time. As a ritual form of thanks and farewell, this model was used for one final test. Ashes to ashes... only the beauty of meaning remains.

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