Stoppages: Measuring unknown materiality

Stoppages is a sample removed from the atmosphere in Central London, containing climate proxies and including dust and bubbles of temperature, precipitation, chemistry and gas composition from the lower atmosphere. Stoppages are physical notations from the environment that become strategic and tactical tools that inform our urban environments health, including its characteristic internal structures and vibrations; the spatio-temporal pattern of the former superimposes itself on the latter. It is an architecture composed of multidimensional environments.

Notations occupy most working drawings in architectural practice; they can confuse clients, builders and architects alike and disrupt projects. Yet architects mostly take them as given, as a neutral code towards the final design. Here I aim to challenge and reverse this well-worn assumption. We should design notation to suit a new vision of how we can communicate our architectures, spatially and experientially, as the future scaffolding of our architecture, not to suit the arbitrary specifications of the notation. Notations can be spatial and embedded in our environment – these are called physical notations. Physical notations are incredibly important in understanding how sentient beings perceive their environments, and in mediating the experience of the design towards building. They allow us to define a fundamentally new, radically restructured architecture for our notational systems. Notations are used to construct all architectural drawings and have often been studied as whole in space, but never before have they been studied as whole in time. My interests reside in a synthesis that proposes that notations adapt best when constantly refined and reshaped by their occupants, and that architects can mature from being artists of space to becoming artists of time. In the development of form, we should not think of this system of operation in architecture as just a set of changes in the architecture in a particular location, but instead as constancy in the relationship between working drawing and environment. There are many kinds of relationships between drawing and environment; an extremely important one is who communicates with whom and who instructs whom. It is the ecology between working drawing and environment that survives and slowly evolves. In this evolution, the relation between the working drawing and environment through the participant, the reader and space undergoes changes that are, indeed, adaptive from moment to moment.