‘Socio-spatial manifestations’ by Dave Baldock
M Arch Thesis Project at Birmingham City University, 2018
Cities are critical sites for enquiry and action in relation to health and well-being. In his Masters’ thesis project, Dave Baldock, questions the role of architectural process in order to encourage stronger ties between the subject and their environments.
In his provocative work, the idea of the urban experience becomes relevant in the surrealist mind trip of the city, and one easily recalls the situationists in their concept of the derive. The psycho-graphical understanding of urban space can supersede the visual understanding of rationalized space. In treating the city as a field for graphic discovery and the formulation of an alternative perspective to architecture, Dave drives the concept of urban space into the realm of surreality.
Socio-spatial manifestations, King’s Cross and Caledonian Road, London ///// M Arch Thesis Project at Birmingham City University ///// Tutor: Matthew Lucas
How can the role of architectural process encourage stronger ties between the subject and their environments?
In light of reports suggesting that cities are having a negative impact on the well-being of their inhabitants, this thesis project interrogates our relationships with the spaces around us. Here, surrealist methods of automatic and experiential drawing become a language that reveal our existing experiences as we move through urban space – communicating both the conscious and unconscious conditions and relationships between the subject and the city.
Through these techniques, architectural representation becomes an inhabited process rather than a set of instructions for physical construction. The architect’s role is transformed into one of translation, assisting in the development of initial experiential drawing into an intangible, living archival world that exists in parallel with reality. The resulting manifestations then become inhabited by the participant on viewing, allowing them to extract representations of their own experiences of the city for themselves.
By calling for an alternative perspective to architecture, this project’s adopted drawing process becomes a mechanism that is able to highlight tensions in real space. Those who participate in experiential drawing are able to engage with their environments at a deeper level, but also produce valuable documents that are stored within a manifested archive.
One day, data from these kinds of processes may help everyday people positively inform planning processes – and even inform authorities and designers of areas that need attention or development.
— Dave Baldock