“Reading Room” project, week 2

Name of the project: Reading room
Date: 4-11/10
Place: Cardiff City Centre, Crossing of Queen Street and Churchill Street

nidsvindvsFor a long time I used to go to bed early. But the things changed when I started my architecture course.

I hope that this brief reference to Marcel Proust call your attention, because in this post I’m going to present the project, which many people asked me about. The project called “Reading Room”.

Studio mayhem

At the beginning our groups were split and from ours, one parson was taken away, and instead two new were added. This made a bit of chaos within teams, as we didn’t know each other yet, but this method was intended to teach us the dynamic character of architect’s jobs and how to adjust to these changes.

In contrast to the first project, “Reading Room” bear more philosophical character. That is, we didn’t know neither how the room suppose to look like, nor what are we going to read.

The Team work

The internationality of our group was ambiguously good and bad. From one side we acquired two new individuals who studied building-connected courses beforehand, what provided us with flux of fresh ideas. On the other hand with more people in group, it breeds a problem to organize ourselves, to direct the flow of discussion on the right track. Fortunately, every member of our team demonstrated some unique, personal skill, what helped us determining the roles of the members. Regardless it was drawing, writing, photography, technical sense or producing architectural projections, every of them turned to be useful at some point of the design process.

For sure, the advantage of team working is its common sense when judging new ideas. As the whole team has to take responsibility for the final product, nobody will invest its trust into some oddity, advertisement pole, shattered into asymmetrically positioned slices from which you can spy on people.


However, sometimes it invests. Sometimes.

After narrowing the main idea, we brainstormed the technical aspects. We didn’t want to make a gaudy gadget, but only to use technology for the sake of design, therefore we thought up the idea of perforated artificial posters sticked to the surface of the pole. Its mechanism was intended to work like the posters glued to the buses’ windows. We were fascinated in the phenomenon of travelling inside the vehicle, seeing everything around thanks to the dots on the poster, simultaneously being invisible for people outside.

This technology enabled us to simply hide our clients, among society, equip them with mask, by which they could literally learn more about others and about themselves.

The Presentation

Camouflage_01 drawing Camouflage_02 drawing Camouflage_03 drawing Reishin Watabe, Claudia Vesga, Jessica Mackriel, Daniel Krajnik 

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Lizzie New, Natalia Wojtyniak, Smaranda Ciubotaru, Filippos Sito

Jess Gregory model, Reading Room project Jess Gregory, Federico Lippi, Stefanos Dalites, Lari Ala-Pollanen

Ross Hartland, Karolina Dudek, Caitlin Mullard, Andrzej Bak

The project was summarized by the Crit, which is an assembly of all students, and show your ideas to them. Long-lasting presentations allowed everybody to face the challenge of presenting their ideas before peers and tutors.

Many projects showed various engineering solutions, balancing on the verge of becoming another gadget of Dubai’s architecture of perfume bottles, and Pompidou Centre. Many project demonstrated also opposite approach, more similar to phenomenologists, Zumthorists and “Experiencing Architecture” fans.

Some group decided to engage terrain in the process of design, like Frank Lloyd’s Wright’s students using natural setting to frame a part of natural beauty.

Our design

What we’ve come up with was however, a bit different. New members who transected different parts of the city we could choose our sites from two, very different transects. We decided to place our room on the crossing of the most busy streets in Cardiff, Queen Street and Churchill Street.

Our reading room must have collaborated with this site, so the question was posed what are we going to read? Architecture? – therefore we would narrow the scope of people, who might use our room. We didn’t want to make anything exclusive, but simply erect something, everybody could enjoy. Then somebody said something, what may sound a bit silly now, but just like understanding things, depends on the point of view, then it sound brilliantly. If everybody can read, then everoybody can also be read.

Let’s read people, then. After all, everybody, instinctively, does it, it’s the primitive mechanism of our subconsciousness, which helps keeping our society in the whole. But, what if we could drawn out this mechanism from its dark corner of our minds and put it on the daylight. The room would become something simultaneously for common use, but by demanding self-awareness and interest in everyday live, it would gain something more aristocratic.

We’re the architects, with creative flair

While collecting information and experiences from this project I managed to simplify the set of skills, we made use of in our work:

  • Flexibility in using various medias, computer programmes, hand-made drawings
  • Flexibility to keep up with the changes in the projects, while design process may become really messy
  • Team working, communication skills, time management
  • Creativity

Moreover, every point of this list will be useful also in the future architecture career. I used word flexibility twice, and with this sentence also thrice, because design process is truly a big mess, and while jumping from one idea, to another, collecting you sketches, conducting research one can get loose its sense of time. Therefore proper time management is essential, especially if you residence is located 40 minutes away from the department.

Nowadays, architects are no longer the conductors of their orchestras, but elements in the network of different branches, ranging from acustical engineers to zoological scientists. Now, he cannot just impose his creative project, but needs to get the agreement on its technical, societal, financial and zoological aspects with a bunch of professionals.

Creativity in work of architect is as important as abstract thinking for mathematicians. Architectural creativity is the essence of designing, suspended somewhere between artistic spontaneity and scientific rigor.

We’re the architects with creative flair, and although, in real life, merely 10% of our work is spent over designing, it still remains essential, and moreover is the reason, why we are dealing with so many, different types of projects.


  1. Marcel Proust, In Search Of Lost Time

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