Smout Allen

Sacha Hickinbotham Y4

Immaterial Landscapes. Immaterial Landscapes began with an installation piece exploring the material and immaterial phenomenological qualities of scaled Swiss landscape infrastructures. The unit 11 trip to Switzerland sparked a particular interest in landscape infrastructures, consequently inspiring an analogous model of hydroelectric infrastructures. A series of suspended cast vessels produce a slow drip of water to replicate Swiss hydroelectric dam infrastructures. Subsequent models of light, sound and heat are activated only through the impacting force of falling water. 

The Chur Fire Station is a new building situated on the outskirts of the west Switzerland city. The chosen site lies in a danger zone from rock fall and flooding—a very common characteristic facing building and city planning in Switzerland. The project is interested in the urban morphology of Swiss cities and how they are formed as a result of natural topography, geology, resources and access. Further, research assesses the effects of climate change on such fragile ecosystems found in Switzerland and its catalytic consequences on land use. The building was to incorporate landscape infrastructural retention systems into the architecture, essentially creating a new typology that is able to exist in such areas of natural hazard. 

The final architecture is generated from a response to natural hazard specific to Switzerland. Originating from the installation piece, the sites natural hazards were tested using models and crash tests as a key method to explore the effects of rockfall on building structures. The building is not only strengthened with the weight of caught debris, but activated through kinetic structures that respond to the impacting force of falling rocks.

Terra Incognita 2019