The project starts with Gladstone’s Land, a high-tenement house, located in the Old Town of Edinburgh, with parts dating from the sixteenth century. Throughout its history, the building has existed in a state of constant animation, being added to, subtracted from, divided, and reconfigured in response to changing laws, economics and culture. In the twentieth century, a ‘conservation’ of Gladstone’s Land took place, which sought to preserve it as a seventeenth-century house – despite its many alterations since that time – and effectively froze it as a historical fantasy.
Armatures of Animation seeks to return Gladstone's Land to its tradition of animation, and attempts to develop an architecture that works with this history in a way that is both sensitive and productive to the animators’ practice. The project substitutes the historical fiction that drove the National Trust's intervention in the building with the narrative of my stop-motion film, which then acts as the source for the reanimation or ‘re-genesis’ of the building, establishing a field of salvaged fragments of the old structure (imagining its scheduled demolition had taken place). An architecture of armatures is then developed to hold these pieces, which are exhibited in the house but also become part of its architecture. This architectural logic is explored at all scales within the building and twinned with its inverse in the underground space, where an architecture of excavation is developed.