Expanded City

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COLLABORATORS: RIBA WM, Argent, Scan The World
STUDENT GROUP: MArch Architecture
LOCATION: K4, Fazeley Street
PROJECT TYPE: transdisciplinary practice, exhibition

Urban planning should leave room for the incongruous, the vulgar, or the strange.
– Jane Jacobs in The Exploding Metropolis, 1958

The Modern Gazetteer has been asking how we evaluate the disappearing modernist project on the city through a critical visual exploration of some of Birmingham’s lost spaces, specifically seeking to understand the present if the past is apparently void. Starting with the physical and digital archive, the project has developed three-dimensional scanning and image capture processes for reproduction and interpretation, making outputs in a variety of media including cast multiples and projection. The resulting exhibition, ‘Downtown Is For People’ reflects on Jacobs sentiments for continuity, but instead applies them to the now contested ground of modernist architecture in the city.

The installation is proposed as an engaging, temporary, large-scale artwork that initially was planned to occupy the linear section of Fletcher’s Walk from March 2017 until its demolition later in the year.

The artefacts were made using a combination of digital scanning, archival research and engagement with the architectural practices of the city. Fabricated from expandable foam and 3D prints, the reproduction of these buildings as small scalable objects were further enhanced with the ability to view them through augmented reality.

In parallel with the physical installation it is intended that a digital repository of ‘models’ will be created to act as a record of the project and to share as a global resource for research and public interest beyond the exhibition.

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