Year 4 Design Realisation
Through a composition of perverse juxtapositions and subverted hierarchies, the Italian Consulate is assembled to purify the Marston Vale. Sulfur, once expelled from the chimneys of the London Brickworks is recovered from a reforestation programme, to be transformed into an architectural material. For generations Italian workers “came to Bedford to eat the dust of the bricks because they had to earn a piece of bread. All this, but in the end, nobody wants to know about us anymore”, as the Italian Consulate recently closed.
The Solforico Consulate questions Neapolitan identity, perception and transparency in hybrid spaces. Alongside programmes of attaining citizenship and recording civil affairs, the landscape reveals the infrastructure required for the sulfur industry. A CHP biomass plant with integrated desulfurisation pit, catalytic reaction vessels (recovering sulfur from limestone slurry), an artificial steam microclimate and monumental storage chambers that form part of an ecological cycle, a duality between alchemy and
The architecture is a montage of the Dadaist collage of perspective and contrast, and the Cubist collage of gaps and hermeneutic phantoms. Engaging spatial, sensual, semantic and temporal gaps over multiple horizons, to explore truth. Truth by Rowe & Slutsky defined as both literal exposure of construction, and phenomenological through multiple, overlapping, and contradictory perceptions, irrelevant of scale. By exploring tradition and language, to avoid a manipulation of Italian motifs on a surface level, the romanticism of Venetian assemblage is expressed. The travertine borrowed landscape becomes a plateau of polyvalent fragments, displaced forms and absent thresholds in the landscape, offering transient views into the workshops and consulate scenography.