From the Glastonbury Festival to the Kumbh Mela, from the Sienese Paleo to the Port Talbot Passion Play - the enduring power of ritual gathering continues to draw people together in regular acts of mass celebration, cultural spectacle and social bonding. This unit will explore the architectural implications of the transient rhythms of occupation and abandonment offered by these regularly re-enacted large-scale performances and public rituals – investigating their spatial, social, cultural and cognitive consequences.
There is no single specified location or programme for any of this unit’s thesis projects. The unifying element is the theme of permanent and temporary structures servicing a specific - and self-chosen - series of performance-based events. It is up to each student to identify an event to build the project around. You must have visited (or be able to visit) the live event itself, or at least one very much like it, in order to be able to develop an in-depth research portfolio and a detailed brief for your own project. In semester one the objective is to document and analyse the event in detail, exploring the architectural possibilities offered for both temporary and permanent structures. In semester two you will go on to design these structures in detail – developing at least one component of the temporary elements into a full-size physical prototype.
One of the key elements of a successful project is likely to be a high degree of subtlety in handling the relationship between the various levels of temporary and permanent occupation of the site. For this reason it might make sense to relate the transient patterns of human gathering with other, extra-human, cyclical rhythms and processes – for example, climatic variations, natural erosion or seasonal changes of flora and fauna..