Excerpt:‘Superposition of Contextual Paradigms with the Paranoid Critical Method’ is an architecture thesis by Fulvio Papadhopulli from Faculty of Architecture and Design – POLIS University, that explores combining two diametrically opposed architectural methodologies to create innovative design processes. The aim is to design a spatiotemporal urban museum that pushes boundaries and rethinks the conventional approach to architecture, using a combination of contextual paradigms and PCM.
Introduction: ‘Superposition of Contextual Paradigms with the Paranoid Critical Method’ explores combining two diametrically opposed architectural methodologies to create new design processes. Context-sensitive architecture is created by fusing irrationality with contextual factors. Its integration is aided by technology.
Whether the superposition of these two divergent approaches can yield a new design methodology that addresses the particular challenges of this context is the question that needs to be addressed. How can we strike a balance between a site’s historical and cultural background and the creative thinking needed to build genuinely distinctive and powerful structures? As forms transition from their structural form to their structuring form, a process of superposition between PCM and contextual paradigms, questions and thoughts arise. Is it possible to create urban museums? How can urban museums serve as hubs of the community? Is it possible to normalise non-normative design?
Using a combination of contextual paradigms and PCM, the proposal is an innovative spatiotemporal urban museum located along the dam of the Artificial Lake of Tirana, Albania. The aim is to design a one-of-a-kind building that pushes boundaries and rethinks the conventional approach to architecture, all while honouring the city’s cultural legacy.
This project is situated precisely along the dam’s axis, which borders the “Artificial Lake,” in Tirana, the capital of Albania. The “Saint Procopius” grand park was envisioned in the late 1950s as a much-needed recreation area in the capital. Later on during those years, some volunteer work led to the idea of creating an artificial lake. Since then, the dam and the expansive park have combined to form what is colloquially referred to as “The Artificial Lake.”
The dam’s current design is a half-kilometre promenade that channels heavy pedestrian and vehicular traffic flows between the city’s two main districts, contributing to an exponential urban change that inevitably changes Tirana’s characteristic silhouette. Therefore, in relation to its surroundings, the promenade can be considered a static element. It is a sign of constant rest, from which time is continuously being screened. A piece of art that gathers memories, facilitates changes, and silently waits to become a timeless promenade.
Since there is no such thing as an empty space according to the quantum approach, forms can be found in every cubic unit of the universe. Furthermore, spacetime’s filling material is understood as quantum fluctuations of spacetime because of quantum mechanics.
Having said that, a design strategy akin to biomimicry may be proposed, with the difference being that spacetime fillings may serve as inspiration rather than the visible, human-scale aspects of nature. This can be referred to as quantum-mimicry. It is necessary to clarify the distinction between form and shape in this method. Perceived as a constantly evolving matter with a complex and well-organised structure, the form is directly influenced by spacetime and its conditions.
Conversely, the form’s shape will stand for specific features of this form that can be extracted in countless ways. While it would be unlikely for different forms to have exactly the same shape, different shapes can be a part of the same form.
Using Grasshopper for Rhino, 3D procedural modelling processes are used to translate the PCM perception into visible geometries. Here the sense of the resonance and the fluxes defining the location are translated into precise geometries.
To simulate and continuously observe how changes to the parameters can impact the model as a whole, procedural modelling is crucial. Additionally, GED processes are utilised to visualise and determine which shapes are more feasible to use and select. The final shape will be selected, and then optimisation processes will be carried out to better ascertain the spatial and structural properties of the proposed intervention.
Structural Configuration: The project optimises and parametrizes the final BREP by shaping a 300 m longitudinal expansion using 3D axes. The utilisation of parametric BIM modelling effectively handles complexity by incorporating a typological threshold between the proposal and walkway, as well as a ramping green stripe for a walkable underground space.
Urban Framing: The dam creates a 600-metre promenade that connects two densely populated areas. Its unique floating position serves as an inspiration for permanent exhibition framing ideas at the museum. The main subject of interest is the cityscape, with openings framing different parts. The form, which is akin to a fluid entity, stimulates ground flow. The plastered space truss serves as a gigantic outdoor urban frame, freezing time as visitors watch through it.
Urban Escape: Offering a unique escape from reality, the Timeless Promenade is a central staircase that winds through the spine of the building. By ascending in levels, the fluidity of mass that accompanies the pathway allows one to experience various spatial relations. The panoramic pathway ends at the middle level, reached by a non-normative staircase at the top. A distinct range of spatial perceptions is ensured by both pathways.
Urban Threshold: In and of itself, the intervention is architectural and urban. Owing to its unique built environment, it acts as an urban boundary that restricts further expansion towards the lake. In terms of architectural scale, it defines the spatial relationships between the context and the main structure. Normative and non-normative staircases were intended to ensure a step-layered, self-holding structure while fostering a distinct urban condition that was home to urban athletes and free runners.
Museal Experiences: An enormous shell that connects indoor and outdoor experiences is proposed by the structure for the urban shore of the capital. It has a sense of porosity since it has no doors, walls, or curtain walls. Frames and promenades serve as “nude” exhibitions along pathways intended for museum experiences. Exhibitions on the ground level feature historical Tirana holograms, AI, and VR/AR. A preliminary concept includes plasticized panelling configuration.
Landscape Conditions: Given its proximity to Tirana’s Grand Park, the project suggests a fluid extension towards the highway that includes green spaces with vegetation and trees. The lake, which is currently unsurveyed and unsafe for swimming, will be used for patrolling and surveying. To ensure that it realises its full landscape potential, the proposal includes three “lake pockets” for small boats and watersports equipment in addition to artificial shorelines.
Science Center & Innovative Spaces: Underground spaces are strategically converted into therapeutic spaces by the Science Centre and Innovative Spaces in an effort to inspire the next generation. Along with larger spaces for light show exhibitions and urban gatherings, they will house scientific labs, workshops, start-ups, and administration offices.
Conclusion: This architecture thesis offers readers a perspective on the complexity of form structures and explains how to apply the quantum-mimicry method to enhance designs in any site-specific setting. Furthermore, it provides some hints about how to accept and examine paranoid situations and how those can manifest in real data, acting as generators for potential architectural forms.
[This Academic Project has been published with text submitted by the student]
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