Intimacy of architecture

It’s been busy around here. Very.

I will try to keep up with the uni briefs. I’m skipping the first brief as it was a total fail!

The second brief for the Design Without elective was set by the chief director of the 2013 Lisbon Architecture Triennale and was asking to ‘demonstrate the intimacy of architecture without building anything’. Tricky..

First things that came to my mind were

  • space is an experience
  • an event
  • I can make people think of a place or imagine a place
  • sound can take you to a place
  • space can be performative
  • a feeling
  • interaction

My initial idea was to visit a place, describe it in a text and relate to a personal experience I had with that place. I also recorded some sound from the location. My intention was to make people, by reading the text and listening to the sound, create their own place in their minds. As I learnt from the Sound Space AcrossRCA project, each one of us can create a different narrative in our minds when listening to a sound.

So this is my text :


After having a breakdown about not responding well to the briefs, I requested a tutorial with my personal tutor, Teal Triggs. The feedback I got is that I made something different than anyone would respond as intimacy of architecture. After some corrections to the text (the picture above is the final version of the text), the big issue to engage with, is how to present this piece of text and how to define intimacy for the reader.

We agreed that what the text was trying to do, was to create an intimacy between the reader, the author and the space with the event presented at the end/personal relation to a place. I realise that this text defines intimacy as a personal experiential relation, even maybe emotional. It invites the viewer to enter my personal/emotional space.

The text also talks about small details that create something huge and that represents a kind of intimacy. Something small is intimate. It also links to the last part of the text, the story revealed is a bit dramatic, as the dome and the huge building created by small details.

But where this text should be applied?

My first experiment was placing this text in the entrance of the Stevens building, which is used for exhibitions


I also had the idea of filming people responding to it.

But this idea is not challengeable enough, it should work as a public intervention. Trying to find an intimate space to place this text, I was thinking about something discreet, even maybe toilet!

As I was thinking this, the days were passing by (not the best thing), so I decided to place my text in a corridor because is a more intimate place than the entrance of the building. While I was placing the text on the wall I noticed that people weren’t looking at it and they were looking on the floor instead. So I came with the idea to draw attention from the floor to the wall. So I’ve put a part of the text on the floor, right where people were passing so there’s no chance they wouldn’t see it. Then the next bit was a bit closer to the last bit of text , but on the wall.  I also had the idea of placing the text, very small, in other places, for example next to the lift (check the slide show).

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The feedback I got:

  • this was a starting point, a ‘light’ touch on something
  • the place I chose to place the text wasn’t the right one
  • keep working on this, make interventions
  • the solution was a bit ‘safe’ (I didn’t include the sound as it would make it more complicates etc)

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