Project description

Galería del Agua: a Water Gallery in the gardens of the Alcázar of Córdoba [Thesis]

The Galería del agua, an architectural landscape of pavilions, aqueducts and avenues, re-calibrates the landscaped gardens of the Alcázar of Córdoba, a 14th century castle on the northern bank of the Guadalquivir River in Córdoba, southern Spain. Built by a Christian king, its shifting identity in the Muslim and Christian world is indicative of the architectural and cultural heritage of the region. Designed as an architecture of display, the Galería comprises individual chambers, sheltered enclosures for the presentation of works from a collection of 19th century European paintings depicting the city and its artefacts through the lens of Orientalism. Here defined as the West’s often careless fascination with and misreading of the ornament and culture of the East made manifest as seductive displays of decorative detail and ritual.

Decoding Smoke Prints - Frame 1
Decoding Smoke Prints - Frame 1
Decoding Smoke Prints - Frame 3
Decoding Smoke Prints - Frame 3
Decoding Smoke Prints - Frame 2
Decoding Smoke Prints - Frame 2
Decoding Smoke Prints - Frame 4
Decoding Smoke Prints - Frame 4
Stopping Motion

The initial experiment to codify the voiced patterns of human and divine speech - as seen in extract of the 'Epic of Gilgamesh', spoken in the original ancient Mesopotamian syllabaries - was a primer for digitising and isolating other forms of organic human process.

In a process of digital re-drawing, the architecture of the Galería emerges from the Córdoban paintings of David Roberts, the Scottish artist most associated with the landscapes of the Orientalist tradition. A fragmentary field of captured views lays out the framework for a landscape of extruded channels, decks, and overhead pergolas, peopled by the optical wells that offer back the imagined, ambiguous, contested landscapes of the city beyond.

Walking through Roberts' Córdoba - Field Drawing expand
Walking through Roberts' Córdoba - Field Drawing
Gate axonometric - View expand
Gate axonometric - View
Gate internal - View expand
Gate internal - View
Lock GF Plan - Drawing expand
Lock GF Plan - Drawing
Lock NE Section - Drawing expand
Lock NE Section - Drawing
Lock NW Section - Drawing expand
Lock NW Section - Drawing
Lock SE Section - Drawing expand
Lock SE Section - Drawing
Distilling Motion

To the east of the site, the Mezquita-Catedral, the defining architecture of a contested culture, exemplifies the various human footprints, rituals, and religious identities of the city. It is an architectural Chimera and as such it offered a key to the architectural design thesis as a reflection on the artefacts of cultural perception.

This very orientalist history is re-represented for public viewing within the 'optical wells' displaced across the varying water channels of the Gallery landscape in the Alcázar gardens.

Gate Exploded Axonometric - Drawing expand
Gate Exploded Axonometric - Drawing
NE Site Section - Drawing expand
NE Site Section - Drawing
NW Site Section - Drawing expand
NW Site Section - Drawing
Framing motion

An earlier Chamber lock design nestled into the undercroft of the Mezquita-Catedral site formed the first iteration for a series of crumpled optical wells that function as intimate visitor viewing rooms amongst the Gallery's landscape of water channels.

Forms followed through a fluid strategy of mesh manipulation across many scales of the proposal.

[Di]stilling motion - Development expand
[Di]stilling motion - Development
Field axonometric in mist - View expand
Field axonometric in mist - View
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