THE ALIEN ARCHIVE IN LONDON AND VIENNA
Conceived as a building and programme shared by two sites: London and Vienna, the Alien Archive is a symbol for the occupant divided between two nations – the immigrant. An analytical reaction to the classical order’s idealised body and golden section, the project investigates the idea of the incomplete. Subliminally connected to the human body, the Archive’s architecture objectifies the occupant’s mental state of incompleteness, rather than representing the body as a whole. The two key themes within the project are the phantom limb phenomenon, an allegory for the uncanny presence of the absence, and embryonic architecture used here as an expression of homesickness.
Internally, the vertigo of the sublime is placed side by side with the claustrophobia of the uncanny through the manipulation of scale and light.
While the uncanny is meant to generate a greater degree of the frightful, the notion of taste diminishes further the already thin line between the two. The Archive’s architecture is led by the theme of the foetus, inspired by the Freudian allegory on our impossible desire to return to the womb, humankind’s original ‘homesickness.’
The Alien Archive is intended as an experience rather than as a dwelling. The use of qualities of the sublime projects a specific mental state in order to bridge the void between real and imaginative, and consequently to blur the boundary between the two.
In an attempt to replicate the womb and induce claustrophobia, the main body of the building is buried deep underground with the access directed by a large staircase, for the stair is an architectural component addressed directly by the human body. It further leads to Austrian ground – a metaphor for the presence of absence seeking to amplify the emotions of homesickness and alienation. The absence of light within the space represents the major generator of the sublime: obscurity.
Alien Archive box
Grand Stair Perspective
Grand Stair Model