Tag Archives: re collections of Berlin


The aspern papers”, written by henry james (1888) follows a keen antiquitarian around the canals of venice, in search of a set of intimate letters written by the great poet. the narrator finds himself befriending a frail old woman and her daughter in order to gain access to the house and furniture that hold these elusive papers. by the end, we are taught the perils of an overfamiliarity with an object of desire, leading to the eventual burning of the papers by the daughter after she discovers how he has treated her and her mothers intimacy. throughout the tale, the narrators journey around venice is interchanged and merged with his journey around the locked furniture and coridoors of the house he is lodging in. james used this mix of scales to imply a haptic, distracted perception of the city of venice, comparing it to a city where streets are coridoors, building is furniture, details are clasps and the routes are infitite.


“With its little winding ways where people crowd together, Where voices sound as in the coridoors of a house, Where the human step circulates as if it skirted the angles of furniture,


And shoes never wear out”


the model is a culmination of a drunken walk around the streets of venice in the pursuit of getting lost. the haptic journey, seemingly impossible to make out from the city fabric is in turn perfectly clear, when the details and loci used to plot the journey are seen in isolation.


At some point I may re-order the content to form more of a logical progression through the project, but for now i’m adding things as they appear relevant.

The courtyard plan shows the hull in its ‘reality’; its ‘folded’ state. The plan also begins to address the project’s attitude to the existing tenement; in places such as the hull, the form is generated by the need to be held back, to allow the act of the voyeur. While in others, the project disregards existing boundaries, breaking into & taking over.

[While the aim of this blog is to highlight some of the more interesting ways of representing architectural space & the role the imagination can have, a standard drawing here & there is always good as a reference]

“He who has once begun to unfold the fan of memory never comes to the end of the segments. No image satisfies him, for he has seen that it can be unfolded, and only in the folds does the truth reside”      – Benjamin ‘Demonic Berlin’


This gallery contains 3 photos.

        Following from the modelling technique of my 5th year work, this is a more sophisticated version…For a start, its much more interesting to look at, and unlike the original which had only one focus point [the whole image], this contains a number of viewpoints intended to pin down a narrative of …

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So, I ended up being awarded the above prize for my final project ‘re collections of Berlin’, as well as being nominated to submit for the RIBA Silver medal this September. Here is a brief blurb of what it was all about.

Located within the courtyard of a Berlin relic, the new library grows from the foundation of a fictitious curator buried deep in its walls; approaching an architecture of the voyeur, and the intimate connection between subject and object.  Based upon Walter Benjamin’s Berlin, the project aims to connect literature’s prowess over the imagination, and the creation of a wholly uncanny space; be it uncomfortable or not.  From concept to completion, drawings and models have been used as rigorous research tools, to begin to convey the similarities shared by both space and the imagination alike.

Personally, I don’t know who the guy is, but going on feedback from some of the models I was producing for the project, its something to do with confusing influential people. Hence the irony; the irony that doing well at anything as subjective as architecture is wholly based in ensuring no-one can actually explain why it works.

Here’s hoping this method stays with me…