Author : Laurent Dubuis

University : Ecole Spéciale d’Architecture in Paris

Status : BArch, 2013

Advisor : Ricardo DeOstos

Title : Hybrid Derives and Ornamental Ghosts

Nowadays, beauty and ugliness become two possible options to be experienced neutrally. Ugliness is considered as a subject in itself, rather than as an erroneous manifestation of the beautiful.  Ugliness is defined as something unexpected, unplanned, unanticipated, and not supposed to be.

Berlin, described as a beautiful ugly city, has always been a city with changes where border conditions and zones of in-between constitute a domain of conversation. They are not demarcated by permanent identities but by constantly evolving fields of network, in a never ending process of discovery and redefinition. The site is located on an old nightclub, abandoned. By “rehabbing” the program, it enables to propose to bring back to life what is dying. The site is composed only of a wild nature, denaturalized in an urban context, an enclave stuck between the Spree River and a high speed road.

Ugliness is always in transformation. Inspired by this changing wild nature, in metamorphosis, I capture a moment, a temporality in this transformation, before the recontextualization in the normality. It generates a new landscape, an artificial nature composed of pipes transformed and strange This huge landscape, frontier of the unknown, is sequencing to conditions with the density of the field and defines parameters of proximity, intimacy, outrage, accumulation. By playing with the density of the pipes, the weaving of the filaments and the porosity of the field, this wired typology recreates substance and matter, an aggregation of different interiors with only flows in between. These interstitial spaces, non-defined, acting like a digestion path gives freedom to the user to wander and explore on its own way the building.

Beyond have fun, the nightclub is reinterpreted as an immersive experience, a process of escape the exterior world and the city into a spatial, auditive and sensorial experience, constantly redefining and compromising amongst the usual and the unusual, the functional and the irrational, the old and the new, the distinct and the unpredictable, the interior and the exterior. Nowadays, we are in an urgent need to open up the flesh, which is the phenomenon of the hybridization of the body and technology. The elimination of borders between inside and outside, everything is inextricably mixed up.  By implementing it into my project, the architecture effaces the border between object and the subject. It gives an immersive experience with a play of seen and unseen, by questioning the intimacy, intimacy in the nightclub, and within the city.

Multiples islands are creating a landscape, a landscape of conditions: An exterior frontier without limits inside. Each area follows its own rules, between built and unbuildable, the inert and the reactive, crossing multiple barriers that reveal our emotions, our secret intentions. Through a serie of environments that captures the ephemeral emotion, it creates a panorama of conditions of the ugliness and the strangeness. Going through spaces that actively evade comfort, it removes from normalcy the habits, ennui and convenience. It first intrigues, then simultaneously repulses and attracts.

Going into the fears, the deepest feelings, the disintegration, but also in a sense of sacredness, which break the boundaries between the body and its surrounding, it creates a poly sensorial experience, a “derive” of spatial studies according to the moods and the feelings, always in a state of transience. Each room is a rigorous landmark and an enclave, both sign of rallying and sanctuary of programmatic and formal experimentation with conditions, parameters and criteria. It is not one atmosphere by space, but one atmosphere by time, by temporality. The architecture is unfrozen, due to the time, the music, the program.

This mutant that lives day and night creates a radical exchange of experiences as a symbiotic dialogue with the scapes (landscape, soundscape, lightscape, cityscape). Surrounding in an immersive zone, the subject escapes from the alienation of any context, and can concentrate on his new condition, and also breaks the barriers with the political or social control. In a society guided by the determination of erasing everything perceived as undesirable, it guided to cross heterotopic spaces. It creates new meanings, melding people and their environment, society and nature, humans and nonhumans. Everything is a play of inside and outside in the project, but also as the relation within the city, a composition between field, built and human, an hybridization of the different states. The nightclub is something dense, carnal and corporeal. People are mixed and melded within the architecture, the environment. The body is touching, is sunk into the flesh of the space. With the rise of the new technologies, the body starts to be dematerialized and with the researches on ugliness, it enables to replace the notion of the body to its tribal entity, its initial statement. From fascination to nightmare, the image of the architecture is an allegory of the ugliness and the strangeness, blurring the boundaries of convention.

Sometimes it repulses, sometimes it celebrates.