Author : Julien Nolin

University : Royal Danish Institute of Fine Arts

Status : MArch2, 2016

Advisors : Jakob Knudsen, David Garcia

Title : Amazonia Pier

“Come experience the Amazon Without going into the Amazon!”                   

The wonders of the Amazon, may not be what you would expect. It might come as a surprise to know that in the heart of the Amazon rainforest, lies a metropolis of over 2 million people. A city who owes its survival to a Free Trade Zone, who’s strong industrial presence in the rainforest goes far beyond self-sufficiency, but has deep ties to the surrounding region, the country, and its international relations.

Amazonia Pier is a phantasmagorical critique of the Free Trade Zone of Manaus, proposing a speculative reinterpretation of the Zone’s industrial belt into a pier of pleasure, and forming a new industrial park at the city’s central harbour, hybridizing the mechanical manufacturing processes of industry with the mechanics of amusement rides, juxtaposing themes of consumerism, manufacturing, tourism and pleasure.

Pleasure piers today are reminiscent of an older era. Where they gained massive popularity alongside larger societal tensions such as industrialisation, immigration and rapid urbanisation, piers and parks of pleasure accommodated a rising demand for leisure, for escape. Their ultimate demise came about as their novelty ran out with time, the veil
lifted over their implied sense of pleasure, and the gimmick was revealed. Today, an understanding of these amusement parks as a cheap thrill prevails, and provide the lens of subversion through which the industrial park of Manaus is to be exhibited.

Jutting out from the edge of the city with sardonic pride, the pier stands over the Rio Negro, reacquainting the city with its dismissed artery. On an unfamiliar landing stage, to which length will the ‘city in the jungle’ venture to dazzle its patrons in the bizarre spectacle of a manufacturing of pleasure?                    

Concurrent with the understanding of pleasure piers as places of learning turned places of consumerism, Amazonia Pier is concerned with implications of manufacturing of goods in the context of the artificiality of the theme park model. The proposal intends to develop an integrated model between the patrons of the park and the industrial process, where the former becomes an essential part, even a dependant one, of the manufacturing process
while riding the attractions of the park.

Interview

S//A : What’s the most important aspect of this project that we should be aware of?
Julien Nolin_ Concurrent with the understanding of pleasure piers as places of learning turned places of consumerism, Amazonia Pier is concerned with implications of manufacturing of goods in the context of the artificiality of the theme park model.
The double aspect of the Critique which on one hand critiques the free trade zone in Manaus, which in shines a light on the harmful side effects of globalisation, but on the other hand, the project also critiques our role as consumers, our relationship to products to the process and how detached we are.

S//A : What other fields outside of architecture interest you?
JN_ Through this project I have to definitely say Philosophy became a major interest of mine. From Marx to Debord to Baudrillard’s ideas on simulation, the field open my eyes to new concepts I hadn’t delved deep into before.

S//A : Most important thing you learned in architecture school?
JN_ The best way to learn, to teach yourself new things is through others, through your peers, through the time and endless nights you spend with them, talking about anything and everything. Its through them, or rather, with them, that you can all push your ideas and yourselves further.

S//A : Describe your dream project
JN_ After this project, I’d have to honestly say, a park for kids.