Ground Xerox at the AA

The AA projects review opens tonight, and I’m delighted to be showing our units work as part of the exhibition.

We’ve been working under the title ‘Ground Xerox’ and spent the year thinking through the idea of the architectural re-enactment as a design strategy. This has led us in a number of directions, some surreal, some highly practical (and some that are surreally practical).

The topic has asked us a series of questions that go to some fundamental architectural issues: the relationship between form and meaning, how material substance relates to authenticity and the idea of authorship.

We’ve found that remaking something requires tremendous close looking, amazing ingenuity and invention, and a really clear idea of what and why one might be re-making in the first place.

We’ve seen how the buried histories of a site can be resurrected as active contributions to the contemporary city, how new ambitions and narratives can be launched through re-enactments.

We’ve examined the bureaucratic machinations of conservation where arguments between planners, lawyers and developers creates imaginary versions of the past right at the moment when they try to fix architectural authenticity.

Illustrated here are images of a project by Felix Brinkhege. His work has looked at the Lansbury Estate in Poplar, it’s origins as the living architecture exhibition of the Festival of Britain, the changing attitude to both housing and the welfare state. Hi project proposed a new public amenity combining waste disposal (as a public activity to be celebrated) reinstating original cafe from the Festival of Britain, and a monument to public housing in the form of Gremlin Grange, an exhibit from the Festival that argued for modernist housing by exposing the faults of old housing stock.

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