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Medal Winner 2007

The Cabinet of Curiosities

Part 1 Project 2007
Amandine Kastler
Architectural Association London | UK
Designed to store figurative marble sculptures and small sacred silver
objects, the newly constructed architectural body shares the
exuberance and sculptural qualities of the figurative pieces it
contains. The ornamental language is developed from a material
investigation originating from the traditional craft methods employed to create the stored objects which are adapted into contemporary building processes, giving expression and new meaning to the 'Cabinet of Curiosities'.
The anthropomorphic container refers to John Ruskin's theory in 'The Lamp of Beauty'(1849),that out of all natural forms, imitating human form is the noblest. The visitor is invited to view the objects in a visceral and experiential atmosphere rethinking the legitimacy of the neutral white cube and the museum as a site of timeless preservation.

Amandine Kastler

This year’s brief asked to investigate the potential return of Architectural Ornament in the age of mass-customisation technology.
Initial interventions with historical precedent (from Rococo to Modernism) led to the main design project: a ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’ situated in the quadrangle of the V&A Museum. The cabinet would be an on-site storage facility containing objects not currently on display, making them accessible to the public.
The submitted project intelligently translates traditional craft methods of the ornamental objects contained within into architectural scale construction processes for the ornate container. The performance of the anthropomorphic ornamental language is successful functionally (hiding joints, facilitating drainage and patination etc.), aesthetically (material expression) and critically (non-neutral museum space, contemporary iconography).

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