Raw Edges & Disfigured Coherence
Sir John Soane Museum. London, England.
House and Museum inhabit the same form. Neither is fully recognizable nor completely sacrificed to privilege the other. The terms through which the two could traditionally be differentiated (scale, density and domesticity) are no longer reliable in discerning either the house or museum from one another; their legibility is disrupted by the contamination and disfigurement of their otherwise characteristic conventions. This project formalizes this contamination as a means to either enhance or destabilize the legibility of character and distinction.
Two buildings exist within the site; one tending toward the periphery of the site and the other inhabiting the center. Both forms are in tension with the other, each relying on internal pressures to reinforce boundaries. The center ‘Thing’ carves out pockets of interconnected space linked by lingering segments of stair while the peripheral structure serves to enclose a more prescribed experience aimed at looking back onto the center building.
The exterior of the center ‘Thing’ resists elegant, uninterrupted surfacing in favor of rigid patches with exposed severed edges. The accumulation of fitted shells produce the implication of an exterior that accentuates the discreteness of its parts while maintaining the semblance of an object-like thing. The gaps, loose fit edges, and changes in materiality prevent a clear reading of the shape from exterior view. Formally, it relies on the other building to mediate its relationship with the existing site. This allows the building to maintain a relationship to the context and coherence across the site without loss of discreteness.