Lewis Critchley - Oxford Brookes
A project inspired by a fashion collection ’The Widows of Culloden’ by the late designer, Alexander McQueen which results in extruded skeletal forms conveying mortality and the development and erasure of this particular vibrant and unruly part of Hackney.
The Widows of Culloden, 21st century memorial to Alexander Mcqueen
The project is a memorial to Alexander McQueen that focuses on one fashion show called the ‘Widows of Culloden’. The form of the new structure is a representation of this fashion show taking inspiration from the silhouette’s of specific models, head dresses and clothing that he has created for the show and reinterpreting this into built form.
Information of show and background:
With this collection McQueen revisits the subject matter of the Highland Rape – the show with which he has made his name – but applies to similar territory a sophistication and expertise that reflects his experience as both couturier and designer. The inspiration here is highly personal – designer’s own heritage – which goes at least some way towards explaining the exquisite hand-craftsmanship that goes into each peace as well of course, as bird head-dresses and McQueen Tartan. The collection is luxurious and romantic but melancholic and even austere at the same time. The silhouette – all nipped waists, bustles and exaggerated hip lines – is designed to exaggerate a woman’s form and each piece is unique, a one-off couture with emotional content intended to handed down from generation to generation like the most precious of heirlooms.
The proposal replaces Kingsland rail station in Dalston, London. The existing rail platforms and station are replaced by new structure that is the new rail station and a memorial to Alexander McQueen. There are two main level’s which encourage social activity and events as well as a new square that connects the main structure to Ridley Road market called Alexander McQueen square. The proposal will celebrate his work through live fashion shows and festivals, live boxing matches, theatre, concerts and broad range of music events. The proposal will also give something to the local community by creating a place that will be distinctive, attractive, and accessible to all.
Widows of Culloden
A project inspired by a fashion collection is unique; the fact that it was inspired by The Widows of Culloden collection is extraordinary. The acuity of the choice is made further poignant by the death of its designer, Alexander McQueen, during the development stage. The scheme owes its form to the technology of motion capture applied to a particular video sequence of the show.
The resulting extruded skeletal form conveys something of the mortality of the original battle suggesting serried ranks of doomed warriors marching again as if symbols of an indomitable spirit rising triumphantly out of the ground against oppressive social forces. This is what makes the scheme apt both for its time and place; the development and erasure of this particular vibrant and unruly part of Hackney.
The drawings and models both physical and digital make full use for the first time in any project of all the possibilities of the computer, in particular its ability to capture the fourth dimension.
Prof. Andrew Holmes