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The Stolen Kiss

Part 2 Dissertation 2005
Fiona Sheppard
Bartlett School of Architecture (UCL) London | UK
An ambition to understand my role as architect, in the design of sensations, underpins this thesis. Mixing genres, combining aesthetics with seduction, narrating whilst theorising, the proposal debates aspects of psychology, sensation, affect and desire.

The initial trilogy of research matter; the history of Peter the Great, and his wife Catherine with Kadriorg Palace; an investigation into a first kiss, and therapy for couples, have all diversified to accommodate a broad thesis on the construction of emotions in space.

The eighteenth century provides the backdrop to the project. This was the century in which history of the imperial protagonists takes place, along with the construction of the palace, and was also the period in which erotic libertine novels became commonplace.

The fictional story of ‘The Stolen Kiss’ is based upon the love triangle between Peter, Catherine and her lover, Villim Mons, all of whom are respectively grasping for said kiss, that most elusive of treasures. The story occurs over the course of a week, the events themselves played out in scenes. These scenes depict architectural interventions within the palace & the effects they evoke.

The thesis is comprised of two parts: Preparations and Explorations. ‘Preparations’ works as a textual reader for the design-based section ‘Explorations’. Preparations provides the story, leading the observer through the key theories and philosophies that underpin the thesis, as well as describing the intentions behind the design process.

Thus, fluent access to ‘The Stolen Kiss’ is enabled.

In summary, the Preparations and Explorations of ‘The Stolen Kiss‘ are an accumulation of fragmented information. Fragments which have been composed with the intent to engage an observer who can piece them together as they wish, an observer who locates themselves within the realm of the fiction, tempting the use of their own visual and theoretical literacy to gain an individual interpretation.

Within the fog and mist of the imagination is where I hope ‘The Stolen Kiss’ will come to life.

Fiona Sheppard

Fiona’s architectural research project is based on Peter the Great and his wife’s love triangle at The Kadriorg Place in Tallinn. The thesis is a route through a series of architectural interventions designed in the palace, revealed over the course of a week. While the final design drawings and model provide viewpoints into this three-dimensional map of emotions, the writing frames the design project theoretically and historically; exploring psychoanalytic theories of love and desire, historical fact and invented fiction, to create a tapestry of voices which suggest that the past, constructed through the present, has a spatial as well as chronological order.

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