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Irradiated Landscapes: Journey to Prospect Cottage
This project was published in AJAR: Arena Journal of Architectural Research. 2020
MArch Architecture, Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL.

Sir Banister Fletcher Medal, Distinction.

How does one map a memory of a place, a fragment of time, in a way that is as evocative and vivid as the initial experience? As we prospect a landscape, we witness it as it is now, light and shadow begin to define it, complete with its current solar exposure, humidity and temperature. As we move through it our brains process this information, leaving us to perceive something entirely new. Our memory of that perception is also rewritten, each time we recall it.


Intended above all as a form of research by design – based at the late Derek Jarman’s Prospect Cottage on Dungeness – this investigation attempts to capture the fluidity of these perceived experiences, and freeze them into curious sited mappings, unique to the temporal and climatic experience of the observer through several seconds in spacetime. Centering on the production of digitally crafted artefacts, ‘perceptual cartographies’, that are designed/generated from the experience of perceiving the site; it presents an exploration into ways of seeing, following in the tradition of studying architecture and landscape’s meaning and value beyond the formal and economic.


Pushing inherently inaccurate photogrammetric techniques to capture moments of perception and weather combined together as point clouds of Dungeness; the artefacts record an experience of the place through a process of flattening, rendering 3D explorations of 4D spacetime. In reproducing these moments, a holistic understanding of the perceived space is achieved, resulting in cartographic representations of the place, including ‘canyons’ and ‘shadows’ of lost and unknown information, with the element of time as duration also inherent within them.


Artefact 1 shows a view from the rear garden towards Prospect Cottage, with the white ‘shadows’ cast in the observer’s foreground becoming gaps within their perceived view. Thus the actual image is one from the viewpoint of an isometric.


‘I have drawn it as if there is an observer up in the sky ... who is looking down at what someone standing here is seeing, and only seeing what the person here [on the ground] sees ... so there is a white shadow behind.’ (Webb. M, 1987, Temple Island, Lecture, AA.)


Weather experienced by the space forms an integral part, with the sky and clouds being pulled down into the garden and captured.  Just as with memory, aspects of the recordings are more accurate than others, but accuracy is not on trial here. In Artefact 3, it is particularly poignant to witness the overbearing bulbus protrusion emanating from the sky above the cottage, melting into and distorting its roofline; physical evidence of the emotional upheaval of what was a relatively small cumulonimbus taking what little heat there was out of that otherwise bright February afternoon, contrasted with the minute shale texture of the garden’s foreground.


The mappings of Prospect Cottage propose that an architecture of the mind is just as relevant as, if not more so than, the physical space. It relies upon the ability of each observer to conceive their own space, after perceiving representations of a particular place and moment through light and motion. They attempt to provoke questions, with the author and reader together becoming creative author-readers who construct different aspects of Jarman’s garden. Working together to remember a fleeting moment of perceived space. It calls for the recording of sites and designs in which emotional responses, induced by light, leave traces of the spaces upon the individuals who visit them, creating a temporally sensitive and deeply experiential perceptual cartography.


Associated Figure Captions

Artefact 1: Point Cloud. View over rear garden towards cottage. 25 Seconds. Distant clouds, Bright, Dry, 11°C

Artefact 2: Point Cloud. View from perceived rear garden edge. 20 Seconds. Heavy, fast moving clouds, Dull, Dry, 10°C

Artefact 3A: Model Photograph of 3D printed Perceptual Cartography. Clouds and atmospheric disturbances are articulated into invasive spatial forms which affect the view of Prospect Cottage.

Artefact 3B: Model Photograph of 3D printed Perceptual Cartography. Prospect Cottage facing Dungeness Power Station emerging from a wave of cloud.

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