Final Project _ MA Architecture, Royal College of Art - 2013

The project proposes a series of psychic investigations through a range of material and immaterial scales that seek to revise attitudes towards technologies and nature. This Techno/Ecological examination begins with observations of Clapham commoner Mr Davies and his relationship with a Large Leafed Lime tree towards the North of the Common. This shifts to the interior of a Large  Sub-terranean sphere dancing with the body of liquid that makes up the water table beneath the common. Across the common the horizon gazes out over a series of giant pylons reaching into the sky, arching, yearningly, upwards towards the imaging satellites orbiting overhead.

The project holds within it a number of narratives that explore human relationships with satellites, pocket technologies and the ecological systems of the common. Rather than promote or condemn these technologies, the Institute directs it's focus at better understanding of their relationship to  the  human condition.

Through it's research the Institute of The Sub-Lime aims to question the ways in which technology and nature and the control over both can be developed in an age of techno-obsession and ecological ignorance.

THE INSTITUTE OF THE SUB-LIME from Mike Bell on Vimeo.




Ophelia’s exploration is driven by the prophecies from her dreams that foretold fragments of curious spaces depicting a world inhabited with spirited trees and wonderful architectural forms. She was lead on into a mystical journey to eventually discover portals and entry points hidden within the office interior that allowed her to mediate into the fantasy world.

In the fantasy world, Ophelia discovered a range of surreal environments, including ornamental grottos, Indian bridges grown naturally by willow trees, hovering sky gardens, melodious trumpets that collected wind and rain, beautiful lighting sculptures, and a gigantic breathing plant stem.

Ophelia documented the surreal environments she discovers in her sketchbook and constructed a CAD/CAM model to help analyse and understand her dreamworld. Gradually she decoded the architect’s drawings excavated from the fantasy world and they revealed the actual designs for a highly technological tower that is rooted with ecological concerns for Paris! The gardens are installed into the tower to minimise the urban heat island effect, the circulation structures are made of real willow trees, the trumpet forms are rain water harvesting devices. Her experiences were no longer a dream.

Finally, as the building develops and grows over time, the proposed life force thrives and more and more of the existing building is transformed. The use of space within the tower changes dramatically; areas towards the top of the tower become residential harnessing a strong use of cross programming whilst the central area becomes a community driven ecological habitat. In her final drawing, Ophelia speculates on the tower some years into the future. More consumed than ever and with it's inhabitants powered on biophilia the tower is explodes with luscious vegetation and continues its growth.