Continuing with the verbs Express and Articulate, I observed whether the verb model itself could be represented as an initial architectural form as seen from the design ideas below.
New themes of convergence and divergence were highlighted in these branching out ideas which could suggest all types of people travelling to the proposed vision of Anaklia and also leaving it.
In addition to this, it was necessary to define my service station programme by three sequences which are: The Sequence of Arrival, The Sequence of Use & The Sequence of Departure. My research analysed how these sequences work with the verbs in precedents such as, the Barbican Centre, the Georgian Wissol and Socar service stations, the Houten and the Gloucestershire Service Stations.
When I travelled to the Gloucestershire services it became apparent that once inside the vicinity of the building and its landscaping, it was almost impossible not to spend a long time there which is ironic considering the general stereotype of the service station typology. Because of this, I now feel it is important to recreate this feeling through my design where the public could spend hours in a tranquil setting and not realise they are in the middle of a massive developing city. This could be done through establishing a protective green belt zone around the services.
Finally, to fully understand the complexity of the service station I visited, these organisational diagrams will be used to establish preliminary spatial relationships over an urban context and building scales.
From Anaklia site mapping exercises, it’s clear there is presently a lack of services infrastructure capable of maintaining a deep-sea port, including the basic resources, number of buildings and suitable road conditions for the perceived increase of population, job opportunities and outside trade. This is evident as there are currently no petrol stations within a 20km radius.
Because of this, I propose a new service station and thoroughfare on the town’s outskirts towards the eastern entrance. This will help connect the proposed free industrial zone to other areas of manufacture and provide a relaxation/networking hub for foreign tourists, Gem festival-goers and the deep sea port transportation workforce.
The “Georgian Identity” strategy advises a Typical Plan layout to encourage flexible future expansion. Architectural elements are duplicated and arranged as a message to imagine a moment in the worker’s life as part of a single cohesive whole. The pipeline or road network may hint at the process of obtaining the resource/labour conditions. It’s the act of uncovering the unseen and expressing Georgia’s situation through its architecture.
Equally, I was questioning what could make this infrastructure spectacular? I.e. the sheer scale of the construction or the views of adjacent landscape when the infrastructure acts as a part of a journey seen in precedents such as, the Roman Aqueduct of Segovia, the Balcombe Viaduct or the Autogrill service station.
The exploration into architectural elements that supersise and interlock with each other could suggest service station spaces which frame the volume of the street that the existing pipeline associates with. I’ve thought of my service station as a figurative gateway to the old town of Anaklia so the idea of expressing the history and negative consequences of capitalism/exploitation can be seen when the subsequent planned developments emerge.
Convey (a thought or feeling) in words or by gestures and conduct.
late Middle English (also in the sense ‘press out, obtain by squeezing’, used figuratively to mean ‘extort’): from Old French expresser, based on Latin ex- ‘out’ + pressare ‘to press’.
Pronounce (something) clearly and distinctly.
Be connected by joints.
Mid 16th century: from Latin articulatus, past participle of articulare ‘divide into joints, utter distinctly’, from articulus ‘small connecting part’
Obtained from my project articulation, the verb “express” and its synonym “articulate” were used to inform my physical response. My first mock-ups conveyed the act of cutting and joining where some edges were purposely modified to further highlight the difference.
After further research into Japanese joinery, the Japanese Sunrise Dovetail Joint was an example that contained an area of multiple connections and so I questioned how this would work with a flat profile.
The finished result further suggests the verbs express and articulate through the difference in edges and the way one piece is pressed into the other thus strengthening the connection.
The Georgian gas and oil pipeline network consists of various lines. One of which, the South Caucasus Pipeline is 692 km long, pumps approx 25 billion cubic metres of gas a year and has had over $3 billion of investment. The initial development was simply to supply Georgia and Turkey with gas but through the prospects of foreign investment, was later established to send Europe Caspian natural gas in accordance with foreign companies such as BP and through the use of other pipelines such as the trans Adriatic pipeline and trans Anatolian gas pipeline.
The pipeline was my original choice of study because like the symbolised workers of a “typical factory” from the drawing exploration, each repetitive element or “part” in the pipeline that is associated with concepts such as the Typical Plan, had its own unique status or function and own calculated space, however in a collective form, only one purpose – to transport the essential resource both nationally and internationally for the future development of the Georgian society. The themes of politics and control is integral to this network, which is highlighted in the events from the 2008 Russian – Georgian war. Finally, the way a period of distance and time can adapt and change the elements was of vital importance because these factors highlight the lack of appreciation and care or investment that is evident with the network and in doing so, expresses the current situation of the country to any future visitor. This is something I can express as a message through my design proposal next semester.
 Socor, Vladimir (15 January 2014). “SCP, TANAP, TAP: Segments of the Southern Gas Corridor to Europe”. Eurasia Daily Monitor. 11 (8). Heritage Foundation. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
 Socor, Vladimir (15 January 2014). “SCP, TANAP, TAP: Segments of the Southern Gas Corridor to Europe”. Eurasia Daily Monitor. 11 (8). Heritage Foundation. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
Working from reflected research and newly acquired knowledge, my portfolio document begins to state a clear drawing agenda which I feel can also be applied to my design proposal of a small scale power station, accompanying petrol station and pipeline infrastructure next semester. This is in the sense that I could design what symbolically appears to be a capitalist development on the surface, but could have multiple layers where the architecture informs a more positive working environment and thus work force. This could relate to Anaklia because the new deep sea port will most likely contain sources of industry/factories and the current private developers are most unlikely to consider a necessarily stimulating architectural approach but merely a cost effective, rapid results attitude as seen from the new “Western” identity direction for the country.
Informed by the site reading/mapping exercises in relation to my specific element study and as a current question towards Anaklia, I have considered taking the northern (or Southern) seafront as potential areas of further inquiry. While mapping I couldn’t find any evidence of exposed gas pipes in this area which may not come as a shock considering there isn’t the same density of domestic properties. However, I would like to question whether the location being close to Abkhazia border has anything to do with the build-up of infrastructure in this area or if it is simply not exposed?
Site – Anaklia, Georgia
A. Historical and Political Identity at Urban//Geographical scale:
Originally a sea port town and fishing station in the 15th century, Anaklia was invaded by the Ottoman and Russian/Soviet empires in the 1700 – 1900s. It was a main source of trade with Turkey despite Russian control and transformed to a naval sea base throughout the soviet empire’s regime. In the early 1990s, Georgia declared a state of war with neighbouring Abkhazia due to separatists demanding independence from the government. This gained support from the entire nation and by a small minority of nearby Russians. Today, Anaklia is seen as a resort on the Black Sea coast which lies at the mouth of the River Enguri and where the greater Caucasus Mountains can be viewed on clear days. Finally, there is a monument constructed to commemorate Russia’s expulsion of the Circassion people from the region.
B. How this is exemplified in architectural form:
Open-air concert halls/stadium/waterpark, seafront hotels relate to Anaklia’s Tourism, the new development for the deep-sea port relates to Trade and including the border to Abkhazia, all relate to the political identity. The Historical Identity is represented through remaining ruins of the castle, the monument and remains of various buildings which were built in hope of the planned city of Lazika but then left abandoned due to lack of funding from the government.
C. Problem Statement
It is clear from mapping the site and researching future plans that presently, there is a distinct lack of the infrastructure capable of maintaining a deep-sea port, the basic resources and the number of buildings (such as, a petrol station/worker’s homes etc.) for the sheer increase in population and job opportunities that will inevitably come in time. An issue relating to a capitalist framework is evidence of exploitation, particularly among the local younger work force who construct new buildings while working long hours for poor salaries. This is partly due to a lack of necessary qualified academic teaching and possibly influenced by the careers/levels of ambition from the current older generation.
Project – Small Scale Power Station and Petrol Station
A. Response to Problem Statement in terms of Proposal Aims
This proposal firstly, aims to provide the basic architectural infrastructure to Anaklia. Through the architectural approach, it will also aim to tackle poor working conditions in relation to maximum profit & minimal cost seen in top/down structured businesses and industries.
B. Specific Site Chosen
The northern and southern seafront areas are open spaces, suitable for building local infrastructure to contribute to the town’s resources and future economy. Being close to river/sea means the power station could benefit from renewable tidal or hydroelectric power. However, the site of the petrol station should be positioned in the centre for public convenience.
Form Follows Function and a message to imply a sense of reflection and/or emotion/nostalgia from the visitors? The architectural elements might be organised in a way that encourages the viewer to think why? What is this design expressing? The programme would function similar to another small-scale power station typology (large turbine halls, engine rooms, smaller corridors etc.) The petrol station may also hint at the process of obtaining the resource/labour conditions and would require new pipes if applicable, to connect to the current gas network.
D. Ultimate Endeavours
The ultimate endeavours would be to provide a long-term, sustainable income for the town and through the design, provide a statement that informs the future generations of the harsh/negative consequences of capitalism and exploitation.
This year DS3 began with studying 4 themes: Infrastructure, Monument, Spectacle and Duration. While researching the quote “It is not the shape of the game piece, but the way the game piece plays”K. Easterling, previous concepts like form follows function became relevant to my development and I immediately began thinking of each part and its function either structural or spatial that creates a larger collective form such as a building or even an urban metropolis. To continue progressing this idea into a 2D representation, extracts by Francesco Marullo on the Typical Plan provided me with useful background theories into capitalism and exploitation in the factory workplace. The projective view drawing at this point was representing how if the typical plan was somehow destroyed and the architectural elements are free to continue infinitely, then how would the movement inside that space be affected.
To continue developing the drawings and my agenda, Piranesi’s Carceri drawings of an infinite prison provided a reflection into a society free from the classical order and its limits. This was used to form the first reinterpretation of a “Typical Plan” building typology previously studied – the Alumni Memorial Hall of the IIT campus by Mies van Der Rohe. Each architectural element of this building had its own function – the I columns & I beams supported slabs & walls but the concrete footings took the load of the entire building. So I felt the message my drawing would highlight are the conditions each element or in a figurative sense, the basic worker experiences in the production of building and/or industrialisation under a capitalist influence linked to exploitation over time that is generally associated with the Western ideals Georgia is trying to emulate. The projective view meaning had also developed by this point using the act of transparency and reflection as a false blockade against the different layers of social status inside a building or organisation and the restrictions on movement and logistics.
The final developments to clarify and intensify both drawings included firstly, establishing greater differences between the architectural elements to further highlight social status. This was achieved by looking at various decorative or lighter architectural element examples such as the King’s Cross Gas Holders Development or the steel trusses of the former Kutaisi Car factory. In addition to this, the use of reflections from the glass barriers figuratively acts as a mirror from the outside. However once inside the space through the transparency of the corridor floors, the viewer can see the real conditions and logistics between elements in the other spaces. This is significant because even if the external façade of a building in a capitalist country is made of transparent materials such as glass, then someone may assume the building has nothing to hide whereas once inside, the conditions only then become apparent.
Banal Site Layer: Infrastructure, Way-finding and Utilities
Personal Layer: Gas Pipe Infrastructure
Myself and Lok decided to record all repeated elements of way-finding, utilities and urban infrastructure such as, street lighting, electricity pylons and water towers etc. To follow in conjunction with my Technology Study, I decided to also record all exposed Gas Pipes in Anaklia. These infrastructural elements were recorded because they are the essential services to ensure that the life and wealth in Anaklia is successful although for aesthetic purposes, are generally kept out of sight or hidden. The completed map will be seen as the preliminary site field work to inform my design decisions next semester regarding how my potential power station, petrol station and connecting infrastructure will sit within the current frame work within the town.
The documented sketch maps began to show the pattern of utilities generally following the domestic properties. This consisted of most houses having standard services such as water & electricity mains and gas points however, there were a few obvious exceptions in the seafront vicinity such as, seasonal plumbing utilities (beach showers, water fountains & stadium lighting) and scattered larger forms of infrastructure (electricity pylons & radio masts) seen in more open areas of the town. As well as the drawn representation of our mapping layers, we also took photographs of each element in case the overall representation of the map (or just our layers) may change from a standard top/plan view to a 3D or bird’s eye view?
The precedent mapping examples shown below are effective at representing a pipeline or another linear arrangement in a very clear and concise way or begin to show how the overall network would function spatially.
The progress that I made on this task was useful as an architectural exercise however, I still needed to propose an agenda for my drawing. What is the outcome or what is it supposed to achieve? To help me reanalyse my interests and develop an agenda for this drawing, I looked into Piranesi’s Carceri drawings (below) and I took a step back to the IIT alumni memorial hall study. In these drawings, he imagined infinite space in the form of a prison that has a mass repetition of architectural objects i.e. stairs, bridges, columns etc. One quote that I feel is important for my drawing to convey is – “crisis of order, of form, of the classical concept of Stimmung, assumes social connotations.” M. Tafuri, 1976
I began to realise that what I wanted to test in the drawing was how an architectural space can be improved for the workers so that it is still efficient as a place of production, but also has a human welfare driven consideration. I thought firstly, to propose breaking the barriers of the typical plan (the external envelope and the structural grid) so that the architectural elements i.e. the walls are allowed to continue infinitely so this would create what seems as an infinite space however, this needs to be more clearly represented in the drawing. The IIT spaces for circulation would then appear as endless corridors mixed with smaller box like spaces. I feel this drawing begins to express my written agenda although I understand this needs to be less about producing the ideal factory and more about a condition between the mass of infinite architectural elements/connections and possibly the infinite space. I feel it’s also still too simple, could be more wild or abstract and clarified even further.
Also in this week for the Georgia seminar, I was particularly interested in the quote from Lived Transitions Blog – “fake facades with decaying interiors; deliberately aged buildings with clipped bronze ornaments, homogenized and sterile public spaces with cheap old-style street furniture.” Lebu, 2011. I felt this quote was important because it suggested the current architectural style of the capitalist state in Georgia compared to the Tbilisi Chess Palace (which was my chosen precedent building) and has sadly been left neglected due to the fact that it didn’t meet the socialist expectations of the government in the way it contains minimalist facades and the decoration is expressed within the inside – similar to how the game of chess works in the mind.
Finally in terms of research for an architectural element, I feel like a mass reproduced form with some sort of political significance that conveys the prefabrication and standardisation of technology in Georgia is the correct pathway to take. On the King’s cross granary square walk I thought specifically about looking into mass repeated structural connections like steel bolts, cables and plates and how these elements work together to provide a structural system or more importantly, a condition on a wider scale. I would then need to figure out how this structural system is symbolic of the building’s programme or why these elements behave in that certain way. The Georgian pipeline is a perfect example of such system with a repetition of elements and the form of each component can easily change deriving from the landscape so that is probably what I will focus on while at site.
From my interests in the previous weeks of large scale spaces and using the idea of architectural elements and spaces as a game (similar to the extract Chess and go), I decided to thoroughly explore and produce drawings of the Ford Factory in Dagenham and the IIT in Chicago by Mies Van der Rohe. These buildings use a clear structural grid as an architectural act to set out the building elements and a range of spatial layouts incl. double height spaces – even though there is a standardised grid or a “typical plan” which is defined by calculated geometries, the function of each space generally informs the boundary perimeters.
From this, I decided to research this particular aspect further in order to start a set of ideas for a reinterpretation drawing. The Typical Plan was a theory introduced by Rem Koolhaas which described a repetitive, flexible scheme constructed from a common language in the “external envelope, a technical core and a minimum of supports that achieved maximum profit from tacit human potential.” F.Marullo, 2014
This homogenous system was adopted by many architects and Manufacturing companies of the 20th century incl. Albert Kahn and Henry Ford and built purely on the framework of maximum capital gain/income, production/exploitation over worker satisfaction/quality of life. This was seen as the primary cost-effective approach in many buildings such as, Albert Kahn’s Packard Plant Building, Detroit and Building B at the Rouge complex where the plan is simply one repetitive module that forms a production line for rapid assembly and containing little or even no natural light.
My initial ideas for the reinterpretation drawing developed in the form of using the typical plan in an 8×8 grid (exactly the same spatial configuration as a chess board) where the structural span direction or how the architectural elements, dictate how the user move through the grid in relation to how each chess piece moves. I took this idea further by reinterpreting the chess board into a 3D cube and deleted various structural elements which ran along different paths similar to the chess pieces to break away from the idea of the typical plan. This produced the outcome below.
The Barbican – Concept Sketch – Chamberlin Powell & Bon
The two tasks over the last couple of weeks were really integral for my personal development with DS3 in the way that I used and reinterpreted the texts to form my own initial ideas, relevant precedents, group presentations/discussions and arguments as well as exploring a deeper understanding of my own personal interests in architecture. From looking at Peter Eisenman’s memorial for the murdered Jews of the Holocaust to the quotes of “ruins in reverse”, I feel like I’m more interested drawing into: a monument that could be as simplistic or brutalist as a ruin, but also contain an element of industrialisation and freedom/flexibility of space so the subject can experience my design possibly contemplating, exploring or observing and understanding. This proposal may have some political stature and finally, to move forward with the design I’m hoping to further explore in particular, the Russian/Soviet empire’s significance.