Author : Daphnie Costi

University : The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL

Status : MArch, 2014

Advisors : Marcos Cruz, Marjan Colletti and Richard Beckett

Title : Body Hacktivism Clinic | Hong Kong

Pleasure piers were originally known as a site of fun, madness, and delirium. Amid the chaos of people and architecture, pleasure was a fundamental feeling that was experienced by all. Architecture should include pleasure as a program and organizing principle, especially when working in the idiom of popular culture and iconography.

The modern day Redondo Pier encompasses Los Angeles’s complexity but has unconsciously cast aside its history. Since the early 1900’s the pier has been damaged by disasters, rebuilt and added onto over and over – changing its shape, its plan, and its relationship to the city.

These accretional layers of reconstructed pleasure have resulted in a present day eccentric and eclectic architecture that visibly describes its own history. Slowly, however, the generic layer of global retail/entertainment program has started to blanket the diverse history of pleasure in our coastal piers. I propose to add a new site specific VERTICAL layer of hyper programmed pleasure that is censorial stimulating alternative to global retail flatness.

The vertical pier re-purposes the triangulated plan of the pier to create ocular pleasure from its framed views and vertiginous programming.

Interview

S//A : What’s the most important aspect of this project that we should be aware of?
Daphnie Costi_ In my approach to architecture I use my implicit love and passion for the arts and science as an opportunity to experiment, evolve and challenge personal boundaries and design ideas. The project brings together research and methodologies from subjects that have fascinated me from a young age; Biology, Neuroscience, Anatomy, Psychology, Phenomenology and Culture – mostly centred around the Human Factor. The design approach is experimental with an atmospheric aesthetic sensibility; stimulating to the eye and provides a multi-sensory spatial experience. The most important aspect of this project is how the body is used as a flexible material on which we can act: a transformable, improvable and augmentable entity. Architecture is designed as an extension of the body schema.

S//A : What other fields outside of architecture interest you?
DC_ Architecture to me is not merely based on textbook knowledge; ideas and concepts can arrive from anywhere and the world around us is the trigger for this. Travelling, I believe, is extremely influential and inspiring. Walking around a new city, observing; the people, the sounds, the smells and the beauty of the city itself awaken all your senses. This has lead to my interest in photography; I travel regularly to photograph cities with great architectural heritage. Cities I have travelled to most recently include Rio de Janeiro and Hong Kong, which have been unforgettable experiences.

S//A : Most important thing you learned in architecture school?
DC_ Think outside the box. Break boundaries, innovate and don’t be afraid to be different. Designing is a very intuitive process and the most important thing I have learned at the Bartlett School of Architecture is to trust my instincts and always push ideas as far as possible. Drawing, I believe is a skill that everyone can acquire through practice. But design sensibility is cultivated just as any other artistic quality.

S//A : Describe your dream project
DC_ My dream project would actually be to work in collaboration with other talented innovative individuals from different specialized fields and backgrounds, and use new techniques and technologies to experiment with architectural design and form. In that way we can bring knowledge and expertise to the table that makes the research stronger as a collective and also learn from each other. A project where we are involved with hands on design, creating innovative 1:1 models to test materials and forms. My dream project would probably be for a research lab rather than an architectural practice.