This dissertation is rooted within my personal struggle to understand and react to my experiences of absurdity and complexity within place and the making of architecture between speculation and reality.
“One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.”
Neurosis Continuum, [architecture as urban therapy], is a project based within an investigation of Woodstock and its position within the so called ‘valley section’ of Cape town, a cross section which describes the many trades which make up the beginnings of a society.
The project Speculates a psychological connection between the site and its spatial absurdity, as experienced daily within Woodstock, implying that spatial absurdity is the effect of problems of the personified “site-mind”. Woodstock is perceived as a patient with neurotic repression, which find physical expression within spaces of anxiety- places with feelings of unease.
By visualizing what I call “neurosis spaces” the expressions of patient site-mind anxieties, and arranging them into a speculative site, the project creates a space of analogy. A space for which architecture becomes a therapy, a treatment.
Architecture in application embodies therapy, forming an intervention which itself enacts the speculative analogy, manifest as the physical site, bordering railway street layered with multiple historic personalities, from beach to industry to remnant, defensive structure become a collective indicator of neurosis and repression. The servitude space, and abandoned corner, plays host to multiple victims of circumstance, and a societal expression of neurotic influence, identified through a study of crime distribution in cape town.
Isolated from the rest of Woodstock, the site is an island, stuck between railway lines and main roads, in need of therapy an ideal testing ground.
The proposal is therefore seated firmly between the real and the imagined. A victim Offender Reconciliation Centre mediates the analogy, physically creating an architecture that plays on spatial experience and programming to create a place of therapy, a machine of sublimation. This machine intends to address three focal points: [Site as a Victim of Neurosis], [Person as a Victim of Site Neurosis] and [Person as a Victim of an Offender].
Site, as a victim of neurosis took form within the drawing machine as an initial mediation to demystify the absurdity of Woodstock, by visual interpretation of the fear and anxiety felt in those spaces. A park takes shape through seed and water distribution in an enlivened performance, the machine flinging the material violently through the air.
The Victim offender reconciliation centre, allows offenders, free from the incarceration system partake in a process of personal psychological reflection through which physical offerings are produced and uses to reconcile the victims, within formal mediation processes.
The design makes use of repetition stitched together by a spine of opposition, a thread of the imaginary which enlivens the site. Architecture is made to be used as a tool for psychological treatments.
This architectural project is an analogy of therapy. It is the imaginary and the real enacting a therapeutic environment on to a site, speculating the resolution of neurosis taking place within it.