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IGuzzini Travelling Award

"Crash" - House for J. Ballard

Part 2 Project 2008
Mark King
University of Lincoln Lincoln | UK
The project is a house for J. Ballard with a restaurant on ground floor level - Ballard is the main character from the novel/film 'Crash'. The film centres around fanatics who reconstruct celebrity death crashes to gain excitement. This house is Ballard's homage to the Princess Diana crash. It is a parasitic form that occupies a host building alongside the Pont De l'alma tunnel in which Princess Diana died. The house forms a scar tearing through the host building.

The intention of the project was to explore the potential for aesthetic qualities in the aftermath of a car crash, and involved a detailed photographic and hand drawn study, including conceptual models to aid form generation and art pieces to draw inspiration from.

The house serves as an extension of Ballard's personality. Ballard is firstly a crash fetishist. He is selfish and takes pleasure in the aesthetics and the sensation of a car crash with disregard to other people. He is also a voyeur. He takes interest in observation so the house has a gallery that looks upon the crash site. Shards of metal penetrate the translucent membrane to form balconies and vantage points with selected lines of sight onto the crash scene.

The house is a twisted wreckage suspended within a steel frame. Slithers of metal create walkways and linkage between levels. Due to the open plan layout there is a visual interaction between users of the restaurant and Ballard as he continues with his daily routines. Ballard's Master Bedroom is a semi private nest from which Ballard can observe the movement of people on the ground floor restaurant level.

The house is intended to constantly evolve and grow as Ballard collects crash mementos, adds to the mangled wreckage and builds up artefice from his own car crashes.

The design explores the notion of somebody gaining selfish aesthetic pleasures from a topic that represents tragedy. The house is almost a tasteless memorial to Diana in such a sensitive site - much like the selfish pleasures gained by Ballard and his friends in the film.

Mark King

Marks project is a study of J D Ballard’s character James Ballard from his novel Crash. He explores the iconography of crashed cars the physical characteristics of twisted and broken metal, but more interestingly the twisted and broken mentality of James Ballard. The project became a study into the depiction of an architectural language which best conveyed a synthesis of the denuding of a meticulously manufactured object and the insanity inherent in Ballard’s character.
The project moves from an exploration using installation and drawing to the realisation of a building design located in Paris. The challenge became to convey an architectural vision imbued with the madness of Ballard but in essence a project that functions and is capable of being realised. As a result a sense of struggle with the battering factions of build-ability and the desire to generate archi-fiction is resonant, ironically, echoing the character Ballard’s own inner turmoil of opposing moralities. The result is a beautifully depicted project veering in and out of a realisable architecture, drawing much of its quality and power from this ambiguity.

• Page Hits: 39134         • Entry Date: 12 September 2008         • Last Update: 26 November 2008