LES – Cross Crits

To take the project further and to answer the questions posed by Toby, I started to think what does the void means and what is that define the cultural identities of the area, what makes up this rich urban tapestry of the LES. And how a ‘museum’ will encapsulate those, and the architecture will supplement ( add to) the existing fabric of the area.

  • NAME: Does the project have a name?

LES Vanishing Archives or LES Archives or LES archive of Collective Memories

  •  QUESTION: What is at stake in the project? (Something political/ social/ economic..?) What is being questioned and why? What is the research question?

Social and political questions are posed within the research, this are developed further in the proposal.

Questions arise regarding the value of the land, air and space, how creative uses of the space that’s available in responses to these economical and political constraints on the site.

  • PROPOSITION: How is the question answered: what is the proposition?

To be developed. But I like the idea of the ‘circular’ route around the area, in a form of a pilgrimage, this allowing for the possibility of a collective group of elements “ archives”(voids) that make up the ‘Museum”- This is inspired by the Mmussemm’s attitude to the reality and costs of real estates in Manhattan, in which you must be creative and use the street as a series of museum wings. Also, as per Koolhaas ‘culture of congestion’, I see the city historically as a starting point of arrivals for immigrants since the 19th century, which would embark in the ‘pilgrimage’ to the area; later making up the cultural identity of the area, from collectively dwelling overcrowded spaces and poor living conditions; using the streets as playgrounds. These construct the collective memories of the LES; now at risk of vanishing- here presenting a friction and a subtle hint at the process of the gentrification or even ‘financification’ of the area. The cultural identities are eroding, but they can be used to resist changes and the development in the city.

     “Each block is covered with several layers of phantom architecture in the form of past occupancies, aborted projects, and popular fantasies that provided alternative images to the New York that exists.” (Koolhaas, p.9)

  • LANGUAGES: Drawing languages/sound model making or film technique: how do these languages support the project?

A collection of ‘Case Studies’ will be used to demonstrate the proposal.

The use of illustrative “ collapsed time frames” and case studies should indicate time and display the textures of everyday life and capture all the processes of the research into one cohesive ‘Archive’.


  • REFERENCES: Are there art/architecture/literary/historic/unit trip stuff or other references used?

Literature, art and a series of articles have informed the decisions taken during the research and these continue to be of relevance. The field trip provided the opportunity to establish local contacts in NYC. Both local architects interviewed had disparate interests in the area, offering a contrast of opinions and dialogues to take the project forwards. The unit trip was relevant to understand the different approaches to conservation, time and presence and how different people perceive these themes.

  • SITE: What is the approach or relationship to site? Is there a site? How well is it understood? How does this knowledge inform the project? Is there a reinterpretation of site in some way?

The site is a collection of “voids” within the LES. These have monetary ‘values’ and are of interest from developers and of architectural interest for preservation societies and local community, they clash as their interests don’t seem to meet and there is a resistance to change.


  • MATERIAL: Materiality (or immateriality): what is the approach to physicality in the project? What is the approach to time? Is the project spatial? What is the ‘space’ of the project?

Time should an important aspect of the proposal and should collapse a series of frames in one. Each ‘void’ should be an attempt to view the memories of the LES, this should illustrate the sense of identity – cultural

Identities of the area- this is a germinal concept and idea. Attempt to preserve the cultural identities of the area rather than a specific building.


  • CLIENT: Who is the proposal for? Is there an audience in mind? How is this made evident?

 See below…

  • PROVOCATION: How real is the project? Is it a paper project in the sense of a provocation or a ‘real’ project with practical constraints such as planning, construction strategies etc.?

Still unclear who is it for – but perhaps could be almost like a secret ‘cult’ resistance to change… Something/where that people ‘worship’ to maintain this memories and identities alive… I came across a collaborative art project at the TATE entitiled: Works to Know by Heart: An Imagined Museum; which draws from a 50’s sci-fi literature.

‘The exhibition invites audiences into a fictional scenario in which the exhibited artworks will cease to exist and asks visitors to memorise the works to secure their future preservation. An Imagined Museum draws on Ray Bradbury’s 1953 sci-fi novel Fahrenheit 451, a tale a distant future in which works of literature are banned and the only way to save them is to learn them by heart.’



  • PRESENTATION: How is each piece of work to be presented? How does the physical paper/any physical models work with the on-screen parts (if any)?

These are being tested and have worked well so far, creating different styles of presentation and formats for the portfolio. Im still to decide on how to present as a ‘pin up format’.


  • SPACE: What is it like to be inside your project? Is there logic to the spatial arrangement you are proposing? Can you tell a story about the relationship of one space to the next?

They should each tell a story… but this is in development stages.


One thought on “LES – Cross Crits

  1. This seems well thought through and should prepare you well for Tuesday.

    The idea of a pilgrimage, perhaps a secret cult one, as resistance to change is interesting. But you talk of memories of the area and of the identity belonging to a certain part of the past. If your museum was ever expanding to remain in the present where would the stories of the incoming developers and the buyers of your voids fit? In the future would they also be an ‘authentic’ part of the area’s identity? Likewise, what of the ‘pilgrimmage’ route currently taken by buyers and developers as they view and assess the area? I think it will add a real richness to the project to consider how the incoming agents of the LES will also define a cultural identity. These incoming agents and stories will become part of this place. Is the narrative presented by your museum therefore evolving, open ended? If a museum cuts off time by placing objects and stories in the past how would your museum of the present make space for the changes in the area?

    The reference of Farenheit 451 as suggested by the project that you cite is a great one and provokes the discussion of how preservation can have an intangible output yet still preserve the object – in Farenheit 451 the book becomes not the banned object but the challenge of transmitting its contents by translating text into oral memory. This suggests a direction for your project where how we preserve is as important as what we preserve.

    Enjoy Tuesday and make good use of the opportunity to have the conversation that you want to have.

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