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UAL Research Online

Architecture as Performance: The Trace of Performance with Ambiguities of Spatial Sequence

Cheng, Fangyu (2018) Architecture as Performance: The Trace of Performance with Ambiguities of Spatial Sequence. PhD thesis, University of the Arts London.

Type of Research: Thesis
Creators: Cheng, Fangyu

Between architectural space and its occupant, there exists an interaction, which goes beyond mere utility. This thesis explores one aspect of this functional ‘excess’ by conceiving the immediate and intimate relationship between architectural space and its occupant as a kind of performance, enacted by the user, but implicit within the architecture. Such a position proposes that the architectural interior is re-interpreted as a choreographed system characterised by openness and even ambiguity. Here, the conventions of interior functionality are transformed into cues for possible bodily movement, where functional elements construct the potential for multiple readings, which both qualify the elementary function and even conflict with its utilitarian demands.

This spatial notion is referred to as an intrinsic ‘performance logic’: a logic where space is constituted by conditions of ‘instruction’ embedded within the architecture. The resulting choreographic system establishes a relationship between the signals of ‘instruction’ and the resulting spatial behaviour (how we orientate ourselves within the space), operative from an occupant’s first arrival, and yet open to ‘ambiguities’ of interpretation. The inhabitable experience is therefore conceived as an interactive relationship that fluctuates between the ordered conditions of the spatial system (a form of architectural control) and the open-ended and unpredictable movements of actual bodily occupation.

This performance logic is examined through my practice, which responds to two specific architectural situations: Adolf Loos’s (1870–1933) Müller House (1930) in Prague and the reconfigured Central Hall of David Chipperfield’s Berlin Neues Museum (2009). The investigation of Loos’s interior engages my own analytical drawing practice, which is then used to theorise the form of such spatial ‘instruction’ and its potential for ambiguity. In the second case study, the practice documents, through film and photography, an interior conceived as an interactive event. The functional elements collaborate with each other to construct a situation where the space can indicate to its visitor how they might move through the space in such a way as to encounter choreographed aspects of the interior’s historical context.

Additional Information (Publicly available):

This thesis has been restricted, contact UAL Research Online for more information.

Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > Chelsea College of Arts
Date: September 2018
Date Deposited: 06 Apr 2020 12:53
Last Modified: 18 Jan 2022 10:15
Item ID: 15462
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/15462

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