Myself and 14 other students from the Melbourne School of Design were selected to partake in a workshop with internationally renowned Finnish architectural theorist, Juhani Pallasmaa.
Taking the biblical story of the Last Supper as a design brief, we were invited to explore the “emotional and experiential essence” of the event through architecture, with a distinct emphasis on the “emotional and poetic” possibilities of architectural space. We were able to explore these ideas without being bound to the technological and functional requirements of a regular architectural brief, enabling a vast eld of exploratory potential within the site.
Sited within the University’s South Lawn Car Park, students were asked to transform the existing real space “using the expressive means of space and light, materiality and time, memory and nostalgia, sorrow and ecstasy”. A screening of Andrey Tarkovsky’s lm, Nostalghia (1983) the evening prior to the workshop was a departure point for these ideas, inspiring physical and conceptual explorations in my project.
Large-scale 1:10 physical models were used as a testing ground for ideas, the size determined on the basis that it allows us to engage more fully with the spatial and material experience of the real space it represents. Using the model as the sole means of communication and representation, we went through a process of haptic play and testing, using real materials, light, colour and anything that was thought to communicate their ideas in a pure and real way. We were encouraged to go beyond the traditional boundaries of architecture in their material and conceptual explorations, pushing the works in new and exciting directions.
The final outcome of the workshop was to use photography as a means through which students could communicate their explorations without scale, enabling viewers to place themselves back into the real space of the car park. This exhibition displays both the process models and also the final imagery as parallel investigations in representation and architectural process.