MATERIAL INTERACTIVITY- THERE IS A LIGHT THAT NEVER GOES OUT
Design Project in Construction Material Technology - SS 2014
As is our wont we looked at one material very closely under the lens of specific characteristics using that framework to create a building project. Here we examined Glass through the twin lenses of its ability to transmit light and to be moulded, blown and pressed. With this emphasis the students created a project for a place of healing and rehabilitation situated on the grounds of the Steinhof at Baumgartner Höhe in Vienna.
The ability of Glass, through its transparency, to transmit light and thus illuminate interior space has all too often been overlooked in favour of its ability to establish a visual connection with the exterior. We returned to the interests of the “Gläserne Kette”, an epistolary association formed by Bruno Taut in the early 20th century, which hoped for a new architecture based on the healthful qualities and honesty of glass. His Glass Pavilion for the 1914 Werkbund Exhibition at Cologne was an earlier attempt to realize such an architecture. Glass was coloured and moulded, curved and pressed and the resultant interior spaces were moulded by light of many colours, patterns and textures. We iterate in this studio the too long ignored role of glass as a material which is curved, pressed, blown and even rolled together with other materials rather than just a flat pane to see through.
The students each chose an illness which they wished to treat at the beginning of the semester and used the special attributes of that illness to create their place of healing. The place of healing proposed by this project provides 3 different types of spaces for which the students sculpted light accordingly: The Patient's room where he or she is more or less lying down and watching the changing light as it moves through the room; The ambulatory where the patient could use their movement through different types of light as therapy as well as simply moving from A to B. or the treatment rooms where other senses could be activated such as touch.
The title of the studio, while acknowledging its debt to The Smiths, refers both to continued relevance and extreme importance of the ideas of Paul Scheerbart and to the inherent hopefulness in the act of healing.