Friday04 September 2015

Christina Gaiger - University of Edinburgh

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Christina proposes a park and series of buildings in strategically located places along the riverbanks of Florence, interweaving historical and contemporary narratives to the context and setting.

Student Statement

Pushing & Pulling Without Rocking the Boat, Florence: Abstract _Table Performances & The Political Hinge

The Arno River acts as a city limit, flowing through central Florence; it makes old and new political, cultural, economic and social forces take sides.

It is breached by a powerful axis - The Ponte Vecchio, which carries the Vasari Corridor.

Two privileged routes through the city are symbols of exchange, connectedness, separation & withdrawal.

They provide two ways of moving through (removing from) the city.

’Pushing & Pulling Without Rocking the Boat’ engages with the table politics of the axis providing a public register between the two. It takes the form of a new riverbank, which holds a public park embodying the metaphysical relationship between Vasari Corridor and River, Table and Florence, Hinge and Table and Hand and Object; creating choreographies by which politics and relationships are played out.

The five performances develop program and tectonic for the public realm forming a series of twenty interventions [political hingesalong the riverbank.

Three of which have been explored in detail, others have been developed to a smaller scale or masterplan level. However they operate together as a table.

Tutor Statement

The M Arch programme asks for a series of processes that enrich the narrative content of architectural projects. The ambition of the programme is not necessarily to tell complicated stories through strange or highly coded architectural language.

The programme only proposes three things: first, narrative can be embedded in the material practices of architecture; second, design processes and pertinent narratives can imbue the emergent language of architecture with their richness; third, that such richly saturated procedures serially overflow to inform the designer throughout design production and ultimately make it worthwhile for either informed or uninformed audiences to read something into the stories the architectural projects hold.

Christina proposes a park and series of buildings in strategically located places along the riverbanks of Florence. The project intersects and operates at 90 degrees to the Corrido Vasari, which runs from the Palazzo Pitti on Oltrarno, crossing the Ponte Vecchio, passing by the Uffizi and on to the Palazzo Vecchio on the edge of Piazza Signoria, the heart of

Christina’s project is very sophisticated in both process and proposal. She has engaged in particularly rich material practices in order to interweave pertinent historical and contemporary narratives to the context and specific setting of the Arno in Florence.

The series of interventions that comprise the project act together as a metaphorical, mnemonic and narrative device: for example, it embodies the various Medici negotiations with the various Florentine families that result in the twists, turns and architectural events of the Vasari Corridor, something of the pace of Dante’s Cantos (with perhaps even a nod to Ezra Pound’s imagism) and the rhythm of rowers as a musical score, and, in response to the recurring problems of flood and drought, it maintains a 2km long water table as a gigantic dining and picnicking table at the scale of Florence. The proposed buildings are as equally adept in their spatial and material construction as their programmatic organisation.

Dorian Wiszniewski
M Arch Programme Organiser 2008-2010
School of Arts Culture and Environment
University of Edinburgh


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