archaeological architectures - architectural archaeologies | Tue Dec 17 09:30:00 | Clarke Hall (Level 3)
For three decades archaeologists have been thinking and writing about architecture in diverse and challenging ways: as action, through risk-taking activity, as dependent, in time, as atmosphere, through material culture, as landscape, on sensory terms. Slow architecture, animal architecture, quick architecture, messy architecture, living architecture - all of these are critiques of the discipline of Architecture’s knowledge of form. Architecture is now thinking and writing about archaeology on creative terms, but are archaeologists listening?This session is a celebration of the creative force of archaeological architectures and architectural archaeologies. Its focus is other ways of telling, writing, and drawing the built environment from the outside and through undisciplinary practices.
9:30 | Lesley McFadyen, Department of History, Classics and Archaeology, Birkbeck; Alessandro Zambelli, School of Architecture, University of Portsmouth
9:35 | Jonathan Hill, Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL
A Monument to a Ruin
The practices of the architect and the archaeologist have been interdependent for centuries. Archaeological investigations stimulated demand for accurate drawings as a means of comparative analysis within and between sites. The most substantial structures survived as ruins, while ephemeral materials, traces of use and environmental qualities were less likely to remain, giving later generations a somewhat distorted image of the original structure and the life within it, and thus an opportunity for the present to reinvent the past. In surveying ancient ruins and conceiving archaeology as a stimulus to design, Andrea Palladio established and Giovanni Battista Piranesi expanded the practice of the archaeologist-architect that enabled architects such as Robert Adam, John Soane, Louis Kahn and Alison and Peter Smithson to appreciate ancient forms. According to Palladio, the ancient Roman ruins’ purpose was to stimulate drawn and built reconstructions. But the ruin meant more in subsequent centuries due to the increasing attention to time, nature, subjectivity and the imagination.While Palladio reconstructed a ruin as a building,Piranesi constructed a building as a ruin.
9:55 | Marianne Hem Eriksen, Department of Archaeology, University of Oslo
House-dreams of the Viking Age: Undisciplined explorations of architecture, personhood, and dreaming in the past
I often dream about houses, buildings in which I have lived and worked, the spaces of my childhood. For a while I wondered whether this was an occupational hazard – having studied houses archaeologically for a decade now – but it turns out I am not alone in dreaming about the remembered houses of childhood, spaces where we learn about the world, go through rites of passage and are transformed (Hall 1983). Across philosophy, psychology, anthropology and architecture, it is widely acknowledged that the house can be deeply entwined with personhood (e.g. Bachelard 1964; Carsten 2018; Jung 1963; Marcus 1971), and dreaming about houses can equal dreaming about the self. And so the question presented itself: did the people whose built environments I study — the Scandinavian populations of the Iron and Viking Ages — dream of houses too? And if they did, were their dreams related to the self?
10:10 | Judit Ferencz, Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL
The Graphic Novel as an Interdisciplinary Conservation Method in Architectural Heritage: A Book of Hours for Robin Hood Gardens
The housing crisis in London calls for a re-thinking of the role that heritage listing plays in debates regarding the demolition or refurbishment of social housing. My PhD research aims to develop a new critical methodology for conservation and architectural heritage practices, through the medium of the graphic novel. My architectural case study is the East London housing estate Robin Hood Gardens (1972), which was refused heritage listing in 2009 and 2015 and is currently being demolished as part of a wider local regeneration scheme.
10:25 | Rose Ferraby, Faculty of Classics, University of Cambridge
Traces and Void: Architectural spaces and the archaeological imagination
Archaeologists work with fragments; the seedling suggestions of forms and materials from which re-imagined spaces and architectures can grow. It is this process, this in-between stage of thinking, which is of interest here. How do we animate and give life and space, light and resonance to architectural structures that have been reduced to negative or skeletal form? This paper will explore how creative practice and experimentation can bring new modes of thinking through the interplay of archaeology and architecture; how processes of making might draw out alternate perspectives and modes of communicating them more broadly. The focus will be one building: the Roman forum at Aldborough, North Yorkshire, and the creative practice carried out there with the project ‘Soundmarks’ (soundmarks.co.uk).
10:40 | Lesley McFadyen, Department of History, Classics and Archaeology, Birkbeck
|10:55 | BREAK|
11:25 | Tanja Romankiewicz, School of History, Classics and Archaeology, University of Edinburgh
Form ever follows function – this is the law.
11:40 | Kevin Kay, Department of Archaeology, University of Cambridge
How Buildings Learn, Depend, and Extend: Drawing out the politics of space-making
Archaeologists and architects have struggled in parallel against the gravity of the static edifice: architects against a disciplinary tradition focused more on newly-finished forms than vitality through time, and archaeologists against data that is itself deceptively ‘dead and buried’ – but must once have lived. This paper follows three parallel currents of architectural and archaeological thought, and suggests that a common concern with drawing out politics (literally and figuratively) can twine these conversations together. Firstly, archaeologists and architects have developed understanding of tempo, temporality, maintenance and change, and highlighted the vibrant role of materials in shaping architecture over time: in Stewart Brand’s phrase, we have begun asking how buildings learn. Although buildings’ biographies are shaped by their material components, they form within a range of social contingencies: because buildings depend on the involvement of diverse communities in diverse ways space is always multiple. Finally, no building is a world unto itself; as relations and communities pulse in and out of a structure through time, spaces extend through one another: from the apartment to the grocery store, farmstead to the field or council estate to City Hall. Learning, depending, and extending architecture creates political sites, moments and durations, shifting our focus from form to formation, from the edifice of space to the transformative power of space-making. Drawing out the lives of Neolithic buildings, especially at Çatalhöyük, I tie archaeological and architectural discourses together and illustrate ways these adjacent disciplines can converge to enliven the study of space, past and present.
11:55 | Dominic Walker, Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL
The Orkney Island Re-Forestry Commission. A Monastic Building to Celebrate the Beginnings and Endings of Humanity
The primary theme of my research has been the influence of theories of origins in the production of architecture. I employed these themes of ‘architectural origins’ in the design of a building for the beginnings and endings of humanity, sited on the Orkney Islands.
12:10 | Samantha Brummage, Department of History, Classics and Archaeology, Birkbeck
Architecture and Artefacts in the Colne Valley: Place attachment in prehistory
The Colne Valley is a landscape of prehistoric assemblages and sites, as well as smaller scatters and spot finds. The architectural legacy is not limited to the physical remains of mainly Neolithic monumental and domestic structures, generally found in the Lower Colne/Middle Thames area. Whilst Mesolithic sites are far more evident as artefactual scatters in the Upper Colne Valley, affective construction was part of both Mesolithic and Neolithic practice. Traces of daily life at varying scales, both arbitrary and structured, are discernible in the artefactual record. It is those traces of connections across time and space which shape and make sense of localities.
12:25 | Kate Franklin, Department of History, Classics and Archaeology, Birkbeck, University of London
Ambivalent Architectures: Infrastructure, hospitality and the power of care on the medieval Silk Road
This paper considers the agency of architecture in housing the conditions by which sovereignty and hospitality are mutually produced. Situated in the high medieval (AD 1200-1500) South Caucasus, the paper looks at the relationship between road infrastructures and the construction of shared cultural ecumenes across what we now think of as the ‘Silk Road’. In particular, the paper examines medieval “monumental infrastructures”, or built spaces and landscapes which situate both local politics and global mobilities. This discussion of the medieval past will engage with the future-oriented work of theorists like Maria Puig de la Bellacasa, who argues that a new politics hinges on the power defined incaringfor others, selves, guests and fellow travellers. The paper centres on the contingency of care, and the ways that architecture frames transformations between service and sovereignty, comfort and constraint. The paper will also draw from discussions in science fiction, specifically the work of William Gibson, which imagines the ways that built infrastructures both outlast projects of power, and also contort and subvert those projects.
12:40 | Alessandro Zambelli, School of Architecture, University of Portsmouth
|13:00 | END|