Architecture March 2014
Fulcrum – ARDS Peninsula Installation
The possibility of constructing architecture from standardized parts is a long held dream of the modern movement. With a nostalgic view of the future some pioneers believed that the future could be transparent, functional, streamlined and efficient if it followed the dream of Henry Ford’s production line. “More Ford than Marx”, went the catchphrase. However industrialised processes in Architecture are neither new nor exclusively modern. In ancient Rome the standardization of Brick production facilitated the building of an empire as did their standardisation of armour, currency and most especially roads.
In an age of austerity industrialsed and standardised elements are often drawn upon to facilitate works that might not otherwise be affordable. This is NJBA A+U’s entry for the Ards Peninsula competition which draws upon the limitations of material to surpass the usual.
The proposal sees a tower constructed of standard plywood sheeting (with minimal cuts) fixed to a timber frame and using hinges to manufacture a triangular box. Stacked in a pattern of twos these “boxes” would form a 5 storey tower accessed by a stair ladder. Designed to be placed anywhere in the park area Fulcrum would enable the viewer to engage with the trees or the coastline.
With rudimentary skills this tower can be erected on a relatively small footprint with its own concrete foundation. The size of the panel systems easily provides the necessary protective environment safe. And should the structure be considered meaningful through use the elements would provide the formwork for a more permanent concrete tower on the same platform.
Architecture is too often seen without the myriad temporary structures that went into its construction. Here the scaffold has become permanent, the formwork without the from, the standard identifying with the unique.