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Case Study Houses

Case Study Houses

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In the moment when something is declared to be a case study, is it returned to itself in an estranged state, as an image, a museum, a diagram?
-Cressida Kocienski 2010
In the moment when something is declared to be a case study, is it returned to itself in an estranged state, as an image, a museum, a diagram?
-Cressida Kocienski 2010

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Published by: Circumstantial Avalanche on May 15, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Cressida Kocienski 2010

Dear Residents We write to inform you of a decision taken by the Housing Trust to implement a major refurbishment scheme of Beacon Court, to begin primary implementation on the 15th of October. The Trust has been in consultation with the forward thinking Municipal Infrastructure, Strategic Work and Residential Master Planning (SWRMP) section of the Urban Regeneration Board (URB), in response to recent media attention and debate regarding the visibility of the Tower Blocks on the estate. To counteract initial disruptive proposals of the demolition of the Tower Blocks, and rehousing of the tenants, the decision agreed by all parties is to move forward with a scheme introducing modification of the current architecture towards a tactical transparency. Under the scheme all the large poured concrete panels constituting the exterior walls, all ceilings and floors, in addition to all the drywall interior panels, decorative structural elements, and doors in the Beacon Court block will be replaced with prefabricated glass panels. The panels and other structural elements will be treated with a polarizing filter, that will allow for complete penetration of daylight through the block, removing the structure from its prominent yet reticent visibility, and reopening vistas in the Northern area of the city. This will effect a significant improvement to the skyline and general aesthetic appeal of the area. Structural research has proven literal transparency to be difficult to attain and maintain – as it frequently encounters problems of both obscurity (its opposite) and reflectivity (its reversal).

To maintain maximal transparency effect the lighting levels within all units on all floors will be monitored and harmonized with those of the exterior landscape, to prevent lapses into either. You will also be advised to attempt to avoid touching the glass walls, once they are installed, as this will produce smearing and call attention to the surface of the building. Installation will begin on floor 14, on the Eastern side, and spiral downwards in an anticlockwise formation, over a fourteen month period – please see the enclosed schedule for a breakdown of construction benchmarks. We advise that residents will not be required to vacate the property during refurbishment, but will be asked to clear individual rooms during the process. Phase two of the scheme, after successful completion and testing of phase one, will introduce gradual replacement of all interior furnishings and fittings with a transparent polymer, to further decrease visual obstruction. Each tenants’ possessions will be catalogued, measured, and scanned on site, following the construction path, and replicated in minute detail using a 3D printer. The transparent Locum Tennens of each item will be placed exactly in their original position, thereby completing the work. Any enquiries regarding the forthcoming improvements to your flats should be directed to the allocated tenants representative for submission to the board. Yours etc. etc.

Dear Mr Carter Regarding our previous correspondence we hereby write to inform you of the decision taken by the planning board to repurpose the western aspect of your potting shed at the request of the Collins family, in residence at number 22 Marchmont Crescent. As you will be aware, the Collins’ have devoted a considerable amount of time and funds to remodelling their 40 foot garden plot, which backs immediately onto yours, to mimic the sylvan infinitude of the great tradition of 18th Century English Landscape gardens. Planning permission has hereby been granted to them to allow for the construction of a façade to cover the wall of your shed, which will be a semicircular Tholos modelled on the Temple of Ancient Virtue. This will be in the image of a dome supported by twelve unfluted Ionic columns, and a doorless arch. Please refer to figures 2 and 3 in the elevations enclosed. This addition to your structure will become the primary aesthetic highlight of the entire garden design, framed by a quincunx of dwarf conifers, ingeniously honouring correct perspective, and complimenting the neoclassical grandeur of the columnar bird bath, palladian bridge, nymphaeum, grotto, obelisk, ha-ha, and elegant water features already installed.

The façade itself will be largely invisible from your own property, and although there may be some slight protuberance of the dome above the gables, to all intents your view will remain identical to its present state. We do inform you that due to the weight of the external cladding adhering to the shed wall, the majority of the interior space of your shed will necessarily be used to provide unobtrusive housing for the considerable buttressing that must support the exterior. We would therefore ask that your possessions are vacated from the structure before work begins on the 19th of April. The maintenance of the shed and decoration will remain your full responsibility, as it lies within the land attached to the deeds signed in the original purchase of the house, but the Collins’ have insisted that a small concessionary fund will be provided for the upkeep of the façade. We trust that any immediate or intermediate inconvenience you may experience in the loss of the currently assigned functionality of the structure, in terms of both storage, and respite, will be renumerated by the kind invitation made by the Collins’ to visit their garden during the summer opening hours named in the enclosed leaflet, and enjoy the enlivening of the aspect that your benevolent bequest will have granted them. Yours etc. etc.

Dear Ms. Bellamy We are pleased to inform you that the priority status on your recent housing application has been duly considered, and you will be able to move into your new accommodation on the 2nd of March. Due to the increasing shortage of local authorityfunded housing stock in the city, and national cutbacks in the public services sector, including those of the emergency services, we are initiating a pilot scheme wherein these services are merged under joint administration, for review after the forthcoming fiscal year. Your allocated property will be a three bedroom detached house situated on the Fire Department training ground. The property is a spacious, well-appointed home with an en suite to the master bedroom, bathroom, two receptions, downstairs cloakroom, large kitchen and utility room. We are informed that the Fire Department are seeking to build into their instruction programme as much authentic verisimilitude in the extinguishing of fires as possible, and it is hoped that your contribution to the scheme will allow for due development and targeted skilling of trainee staff. Whilst in residence it should be made clear that you will be expected to participate in a number of supervised drills laid out in the basic training program for firefighter trainees, attached in section four of this document. This will involve a series of controlled ignitions of your property and contents, that will allow for the execution of taught modules in oxygen exclusion, temperature reduction, and chemical reaction inhibition protocols. You will be expected to remain in the property during the blaze, and await rescue from the teams of trainees, including the first responder medical unit, and Emergency Care Basic unit for basic life support operations. You will occasionally be called upon to resist rescue using reasonable force.

The property is supplied fully furnished, in addition to all basic household items, including electrical goods, and consumables. Due to the repetition of the partial or complete consumption of many items within the property, and any subsequent water or chemical damage, a budget has been allocated to allow for immediate full replacement of any items affected by the exercises, identically where possible, or of similar brand quality where not. All items will be pre-vetted for researched mean combustion indexes to allow for the most authentic burn patterns. You will be advised to minimise the nylon content of any additional wardrobe and soft furnishings that you intend to purchase. You will also have access to, and be required to make use of, a car that is stationed outside the property -although we do stress that the vehicle is nonfunctioning in the standard sense, as it is constructed from a metal silhouette. You may occasionally be required to be rescued from the vehicle in a range of conscious and unconscious states, as part of the vehicle extrication module. In the event that a genuine fire should break out during the term of your tenancy you will be required to memorise a series of fire safety codes and escape methodologies, but within the terms laid out in section five of the tenancy agreement you will be required to actively forget these procedures and await rescue during regulated fire and gas explosion incidents. Please direct any enquiries regarding your forthcoming tenancy to the regional manager’s office, and we cordially wish you every success in your new home. Yours etc. etc.

Dear Mr and Mrs Cooper We are delighted to inform you that your property has been selected to be the key component in a forthcoming series of measures in strategic civic development being put forward by local government in consultation with the state-sponsored National Committee for Municipal Advancement, or NCMA. On Monday the 25th of May a team of contractors, under strict supervision from representatives from the NCMA, will begin excavating a cylindrical hole beneath your house, which will slice through the foundations directly in the centre of the property, and travel downwards into the bedrock to an unspecified depth. The depth of the excavation will remain classified information. The hole will have an exact diameter of four metres, and its edges will be machine hewn by a specially adapted industrial drill, generating a precise and entirely featureless circumference. In addition to the vast void opened beneath your property, the space inside the hole will be extruded meticulously through your house where it will halt at the rafters supporting the roof, thereby creating an imperative containment zone where the hole emerges from the bedrock. In order to achieve this the contractors will cut a precise line through the interior walls and floors, and carefully remove all furniture, fittings, appliances, and other matter falling within the boundaries of the extrusion zone. We would ask that you do not attempt any structural modification of the property prior to when the work begins.

We assure you that your property will retain full functionality around the periphery of the removed matter, and in keeping with the sensitive nature of the project, you will be expected to comply with and continue all normal domestic behaviours, despite some modification of infrastructural functionality within the areas of your house affected by the hole. We also guarantee that we have been assured that the outward appearance of your property, as visible from the street, will remain unchanged, and we would ask that your net curtains continue to remain drawn, both during the cutting and excavation phase, and when the work is complete. We thank you for your co-operation, and further stipulate that we must insist that you do not discuss the forthcoming work with anyone not involved in the project. Yours etc. etc.

Dear Mr Goldblatt We are writing to advise you that the planning application for the extension of the M68 has been given the green light, and construction will commence immediately. As you have been made aware, this progress in the development of the area has been greeted with great enthusiasm by Council members and local businesses. Enhanced connectivity for the area, in addition to the incentives offered to promote the growth of light industry along this vital artery is expected to fuel considerable economic recovery. As you are aware, your property currently faces onto the A343, to which the Motorway extension will connect with a slip road to allow for the efficient continuous flow of traffic. According to surveys carried out, the rising plane of the planned slip road on the south side intersects the upper planes of your property at a height of 4 metres. In addition to this, the large supportive pillars also fall just inside the current square footage of the property. We have been informed that you have expressed a desire to remain in the bungalow, despite our recommendation that there may be increased exposure to exhaust emissions and noise pollution. The land from the adjacent lots has been acquired, the residents comfortably re-housed, and demolition is set to commence Forthwith. However, we understand that your desire to remain in your bungalow reflects the memory of your late spouse, Mrs Goldblatt, and so due to the decision of the board of appeal we will not be serving a compulsory purchase order in this case.

However, you must also understand that it is imperative that a strict aerial symmetry is maintained in Motorway construction, and so the ratified plans will not be altered. Therefore we offer the following solution, outlined in brief below, and continued in detail in section 2 of the enclosed document. Beginning in the dining room at the rear of your property we will be reconstructing your house at a 1:0.65 scale, so as to effectively bring the roof plane and walls of the bungalow to a relative size where they are clear of the proposed construction. All of the wall surfaces and built-in furniture, including the fitted kitchen will be meticulously re-scaled so as to appear identical to their present state when in situ. All of your free-standing possessions will remain unaltered in scale, and it is hoped that their slight bunching together will simply make your home feel cosier. In consultation with your GP we have been informed that due to advanced spinal curvature, and muscle wastage from the effects of aging, you should have no trouble clearing any of the new doors. Please make an appointment with the development officer should you have any questions. Yours etc. etc.



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