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A Shelter from the World - Locura: A Conceptual Guide

Part 1 Project 2003
Francisco De Asis Checa Romero
Ian Lowe
University of Greenwich | UK
A Shelter from the World- Locura: A Conceptual Guide.

Programme questions the role of the institution raised in an architecture of madness. There are architectures hidden concealed or devolved between the issues of formal and imagined spaces often left in the poetics of architecture structures as an unresolved anatomy – a material unseen a language or aesthetic left for poetry. Creating urban bridges to span these materials demands an imagination that is tolerant resilient to institutional behaviour. As a culture and its architectures are subjected to radical constructivism the orientation reveals a system of hidden architectures- new templates for new futures. Perhaps this future can be truly mad.

Before I visited the oldest Spanish psychiatric hospital in Madrid I was impressed by a famous Bosch’s painting, and I had planned a virtual ship of fools located on a the site of the military fortification, the porous calcareous rock outcrop where two worlds were to meet the real and the virtual, but the constant body movement of the inpatients shifted the reality towards the proposal within the rocks. But still how are the inside and outside represented - is a person a city, a doorway, a chimney, a telescope or a street?

The guide to the models depicts the concepts behind the development of my writing project, entitled Locura: The architect of Madness. The guide is an insight into relations between the mind, space and society. Because of the fact that this work is experimental in nature; with almost no direct references available in previous work, I have had to formulate new concepts and approaches to gain a proper understanding of my field study. This was a tedious, yet totally necessary step in ensuring that my journey through the development of my project had proper grounding and a solid base from which to extrapolate my outcome.

The model pictures, along with their brief companion statements attempt to give the reader an understanding of my personal views as I transformed my ideas from the drawing board into it’s current form. At first glance, all the models of my progression through this study appear to be from distinct and differing origins, yet they all share the common bond of being kinetic yet not always rational, thus symbolic of the working of the human mind . From there, the relationship with architecture is such that the common definition of this fascinating science is that it is a by product of society, not vice-versa; more clearly, the collection of human minds influences the flow and development of modern architecture today, not the other way around.

Francisco De Asis Checa Romero
Ian Lowe

The starting point for all the student’s investigations in the atelier was the wall. Francisco created a wall that was a boundary between madness and sanity. The institution that travelled through became for Francisco a place to dwell. His analytical programme for examining the genetics of madness culminating in his repeating machine (this was developed with tutors Vladamir & Luidmila Kirpichev). Francisco’s dissertation, also submitted to the RIBA examined the journey inside and outside a psychiatric institution in Madrid. The analysis: material institutional and phenomenological was applied to Francisco’s home city Melilla a Spanish fortified city on a rocky pennsula on the North African coast. In his home city the institutional sites of hospital, library, and lighthouse are situated over the key access points to the labyrinthine caves inhabited by Francisco’s world of architectures of rock, steel, plaster, mirror and water. With time clicking away, mechanical staircases were inhabited by the minds of patients and vice-versa. The drawings show this new home inserted under the fortified rock peninsula, a shelter from the world.


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