It’s about time architecture progressed beyond such heavy reliance on the perfectly proportioned human. If the body informs architectural design, how is the output affected when the input is altered?
Performance artists Rebecca Horn and Matthew Barney have highlighted the significance of the use of a tool in understanding natural movement of the human body. Whether adding through prosthetics or reducing through restriction – any alteration of the body changes the user's occupation of space.
The design project of this thesis explores the tent as the tool. The medium with which to test. Documenting my performance of constructing a tent, as an able bodied user, through film, photography and collage, led to the realisation that the shape a body makes throughout the duration of the construction performance, reflects the shape of the space created. If we flip this, initial documentation of a user’s total range of motion can indicate what space someone is physically capable of creating and occupying. Applied to design for access and mobility, this philosophy has been tested through the medium of a tent, proving a manageable, practical scale at which to prove the validity of range of motion mapping in design. Materially, the tent has an innate lightness and flexibility. It is as temporary as necessary and gives users a sense of freedom and ownership allowing the creation of a personal, private space, in an environment where such space was previously non-existent.
Kiwis have a health and safety based ‘tick box’ approach to design for access and mobility. Accessible solutions are sterile, reductive and exclusive, and focus heavily on necessity, rather than enriching the experience of the user. Range of motion performances (and the documentation of such) promote opportunity for innovative solutions that are user focused, thoughtful, and inclusive, become realistic – design characteristics that are typically glaringly absent from the lives of differently abled.
If part of something is damaged or destroyed, and replaced with something new, what is the consequence?
The firmness is challenged, the commodity questioned, but the delight remains, tenfold.