The Light House
Drawings, plans, elevations
“Our surroundings become formally obscured, and the physical extent of architecture is thrown into question. Owing to its capacity to manipulate and create unique spatial effects, darkness can be used as a design tool, revealing new environments and obscuring otherwise familiar ones, affording them unexpected dimensions.” – Catie Newell. The relationship between light and dark in architecture is grounded in the principles of physics, energy, and matter, but it also produces an emotional effect. Swiss architect Peter Zumthor calls ‘an experience’, an all-encompassing, sensory ‘mood’ that lingers in the memory and imagination long after the visit is over. The Light House is an architectural proposition that attempts to convey a number of ideas about site, presence, beauty, harmony, and nature. In his book, Occupying Architecture, Jonathan Hill refers to the ‘two occupations of architecture: the activities of the architect and the actions of the user.’ In this project, both are of equal importance. Everyone who visits The Light House constructs the experience differently. Past visitors include critics, examiners, reviewers, and the public. Now through this film, I invite you to also be ‘occupants of an experience’, as well as a place. Enter the light house, a narrative constructed through drawings (primarily models, photographs and films). A 43m line drawing of the earth’s curvature to the horizon line reveals that the apparatus that emits light extends the spatial presence the lighthouse far beyond its own physical structure. Photographs of existing atmospheric phenomena record the shifts in the quality of light and reveal a ‘terrain’ of light is continuously changing. Playback of audio recordings unveil the existing atmospheric spatial qualities of the sites. The project was presented as a theatrical performance which invited visitors into a new, speculative spatial experience of the site. The project is situated along the edge of a ‘territory’ that is created twice every six seconds by the light emitted from the Farol de Doña Maria Pia lighthouse on the southern coast of the island of Santiago, Cape Verde. The project is composed of two sites: Site # 1 ‘Sea, Land, Light’, which is a 42m pier with a single lantern situated 21.43km from the original lighthouse on a desolate beach. Site # 2 ‘Ocean, Sky, Light’ is a platform based on the SPAR oil platform technology. It consists of a tower, an archive and a 25sqm lightkeeper’s house, with an observatory attached, which allows views to 25m.