© - 2015 - DAVID CARR-SMITH  

IMPROVISATION / DESIGN / ART / KITSCH / CHANCE  


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INDEX

IMPROVISED ARCHITECTURE IN AMSTERDAM INDUSTRIAL SQUATS & COLLECTIVES  

IMPROVISED VILLAGES: (WANDSWORTH & KEW BRIDGE 'ECO VILLAGES')

ALLOTMENT IMPROVISATIONS - PUBLIC, LEGAL, SOCIALLY INDORSED

TEMPORARY-ARCHITECTURE: ("FRANK'S CAFE" & "SOUTHWARK LIDO")

VERNACULAR - PRAGMATISM & STYLE: (BERDUN VILLAGE BARNS & HOUSES)

"HOME" - MY LOCATION VIA MASS PRODUCTS  

"HOME" - MY LOCATION VIA PERSONAL CHOICES   

ART - GOTHIC INTO RENAISSANCE INTO EARLY 20thC

ART - 20thC COLLAGE INTO MASS-MEDIA  
GRAFFITI INTO STREET-ART 
DESIGN & CHANCE


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IMPROVISED ARCHITECTURE IN AMSTERDAM INDUSTRIAL SQUATS & COLLECTIVES  

This large 'web-book' is a visual/conceptual/experiential documentation of four squatted and collectivised industrial sites in central Amsterdam, researched and recorded between 1990 and 1997 and between 2006 and 2008. 

 

THE 4-SITES

"GRAIN SILO"

"TETTERODE"

"DE LOODS"

"EDELWEIS"


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IMPROVISED VILLAGES: (WANDSWORTH & KEW BRIDGE 'ECO VILLAGES')

Unlike the improvised 'villages' shown in the previous website, which are made inside large buildings and thus enjoy primary shelter, this section shows villages improvised on open-sites. These large unused areas of relatively cleared urban land (often owned by local councils or 'developers') are usually occupied by people who want to build a village of dwellings that as far as possible is self-sustaining and minimally wasteful of resources. With no primary shelter, not only are all the homes and shared facilities complete and independent structures, but their disposition on the site - unconstrained by the priori organization of an enclosing building - must be at least provisionally organized in relation to facilities and routes. A loosely developing village plan thus grows more or less intentionally - as a sum of individual and communal choices - uniting the separate building-structures as foci in a single pattern. These latter are works of scrap-architecture that necessarily use a minimum of materials - improvised from scavenged building debris and donations of local people.


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ALLOTMENT IMPROVISATIONS - PUBLIC, LEGAL, SOCIALLY INDORSED

Allotments are the last UK preserve of scope-limited but free inventiveness - places where grown-ups can improvise practical structures from what elsewhere would be despised as 'rubbish'. Their plots display objects that provoke one to examine the junction between practical improvisation and art. Their inventions sometimes exceed the allotment's traditional raison d'etre of food production and elaborate pragmatism into 'play'. Though their intention is to develop 'settlements' for the welfare and management of plants, the plans and furnishings of their plots may resemble sketches and models of possible human architecture.


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TEMPORARY-ARCHITECTURE: ("FRANK'S CAFE" & "SOUTHWARK LIDO")

Temporary-architecture is intermediate between opportunistic self-referencing improvisations and commissioned buildings designed for clients. It shares transience with improvisation which (but for different reasons) imposes an imperative of material economy and distillation of function, with which aestheticism and extraneous expressiveness are incommensurate. With commissioned architecture it shares a separation of client and designer whose consequence is a 'model' of a need rather than (as with self made provisions) an emergent and inevitable expression of it. 
 


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VERNACULAR - PRAGMATISM & STYLE: (BERDUN VILLAGE)
 
 

In the 1970s this hill-top village began to display the results of a rather sudden increase of wealth. This effected the farm buildings and the village houses differently. The farm buildings continued as they always had, to espouse only pragmatism, even though this new wealth changed their means of construction. The village houses however increasingly exhibited symptoms of 'design-disease'.


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"HOME" - DEFINING MY LOCATION VIA MASS-MARKET PRODUCTS 
  ... in process

This study of the constituents of mass-taste/mass-market homes uses examples from the UK's ‘stage-set’ suburbia. In particular it includes an analysis of the intended and subliminal meanings of a typical living-room, its tensely ordered stereotypes of security and “good-taste” and its functioning as an experiential ‘front-line’, a locus of attempts to mediate and placate existential conditions via the familiar objects and arrangements that constitute and furnish it: the ‘enclosure’ and its openings; its ‘ancestral-hearth’; mantle-clock; pictures (paintings of fantasy, photos of memory); its trophies, ‘antiques’, decor and styles.

Such mass-homes are the antithesis of the improvised dwellings shown above (in the website "IMPROVISED ARCHITECTURE IN AMSTERDAM..." and the section "IMPROVISED VILLAGES..."). This enables a comparison of the physical and experiential results of these two completely different ways of forming a home: improvising ones own on the basis of immediate needs or choosing mass-marketed products and styles. 


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"HOME" - DEFINING MY LOCATION VIA PERSONAL CHOICES
  ... in process

This section shows homes of people who are not bounded by prevailing taste, whose homes have formed around personal needs and experiences, and whose use of their society's products is merely practical. This is a companion to the previous section, which shows the homes of people who display to themselves and others the degree of their absorption of the styles, meanings, behaviors of their society's averaged concept and evaluation of "home".


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ART - GOTHIC INTO RENAISSANCE INTO 20thC  
... in process

This section discusses two radical qualitative changes in European experiencing, as mediated via art - from Gothic to Renaissance and from Renaissance to the early 20th century. 


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ART - 20thC COLLAGE INTO MASS-MEDIA - THE DISSEMINATION OF EARLY-20thC ART DISCOVERIES
   ... in process

How experiential potentials, released via art, disseminate their effects. It refers specifically to the discoveries of 1911 to 1920’s Cubist/Surrealist ‘collages’ - how these increasingly differentiate into mass-info forms: are exploited in ads and predict the inherent possibilities of electronic mediation.  


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GRAFFITI - FROM TAGGING TO STREET-ART   ... in process

In this 'Graffiti' section I want to sort out - solely on the basis of my own naive observations of their results - the public works of our citizen artists. Without any knowledge of their individual or social background, based only on my personal sense of their contributions to the 'art-gallery' of public space, I will simply try to categorise and assess the various types and qualities of the experiences they offer. 


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DESIGN & CHANCE / ORDER & CHAOS   
... in process

This section offers examples of relations between intention and chance / design and chaos. 


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