Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Stairway Cinema in Auckland, New Zealand by Oh.No.Sumo
July 1st, 2012 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: Oh.No.Sumo
Stairway Cinema is the third installation by OH.NO.SUMO.
Our ongoing goal is to experiment with architecture and the way it can engage with the public in unique and exciting ways. This project takes inspiration from the site and its inhabitants. The site is the busy pedestrian intersection of two inner city streets in Auckland, New Zealand. It is located between two universities and is a place of ‘unconsidered waiting’. Bus stops and laundromats create a dispersed hard-scape that results in numerous instances of poor quality waiting, while simultaneously failing to provide quality space for social interaction. Members of the public retreat individually into the media offered on their mobile phones. This in turn results in greater separation and dislocation from an existing community that is waiting to be activated. A community must be linked not only virtually but also physically.
Stairway Cinema offers a very simple programmatic response to recognise and counter this larger issue. Short movies, previously shared online, are projected for the public to enjoy, offering similar media to that sought out on their phones. The individual experience is exchanged for the communal and social, leading to a shared, fun and architecturally activated experience. Movies are collected from internet recommendations that have been shared by the public through social media. The public curate this virtual collection of media continuously and the cinema captures current trends and highlights within this realm. Stairway Cinema uses architecture as a way of engaging in a discussion about curatorial practice, opportunistic urbanism and the role of Architects as place-makers and provocateurs.
The structure is a slender timber truss frame constructed from 24x24mm pine members. Covering this frame is a triple skin system of fabric that provides a waterproof exterior, a dappled light effect and a soft tactile interior surface. Sited above an existing exterior stairway, the fabric and timber hood creates a new interior within the public realm; a space that is free to enter and welcomes all. The interior, softened with custom made cushions, offers a repurposed seating tier. Over the entrance video content is projected onto the screen at the cantilevered end of the structure.
At the core of the work undertaken by OH.NO.SUMO. is a desire to achieve architectural projects which offer an alternative mode of research. Hidden potentials of existing spaces are discovered through fun and accessible processes of design and fabrication which engage the public.
Stairway Cinema was part of St Paul St Gallery’s Curatorial Season 2012. The series of exhibitions invited select artists to examine approaches concerning contemporary curatorial practice.
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