An Architecture of Amnesia

Finally, having more or less finished the portfolio section of this website, I want to give a little time to this space and some of the subjects that have been mounting up over the last few months. But, before I move away from my past work entirely, I do want to quickly shine a light on a project that didn’t make it into my portfolio (for lack of sufficient depth) but which had, in my opinion an interesting hypothesis and potential for further investigation.

The project in question was titled, ‘An Architecture of Amnesia’ and it was produced as a heuristic exercise to get to grips, briefly, with the scope of postgraduate research over the course of a few weeks. However, the principal observation I made through this rather rushed episode of research and reasoning was quite provocative: suggesting that the presence of “linear time”, the ability to perceive a temporal progression in space, was largely absent from the London Underground. No sooner have you passed through the ticket barrier at your local station than been debited more than just the balance on your travel card. You have had removed the natural axis of space and time. With each platform, passageway and staircase no different than any other on the network, with no distinct geographical point with which to place yourself, there is nothing to identify a single place in time; and with that, nothing with which to clearly attach one’s memory.

I was (and still am) interested in whether this theoretical observation has any real life consequences but it does, at least, raise some interesting questions regarding the role of memory in the generation of architecture.