A Comic\Architectural Hybrid


After researching on the Baltic sea’s unsustainable situation and after observing the irony of the official actors statements, the project uses this irony and proposes an actual collaboration to reach the claimed common goal directly to the European Union.

This version of the projet has been send to the European Union via an open letter website : eu-takes-the-plunge.weebly.com. An appointment with a representative is currently being planned.

The proposition aims to critic, to promote or to create public transparent dialogue, by playing with its reception and its flexibility of being considered as an utopian fiction or as a possible and necessary reality. A publication now appears as an interesting, if not necessary, extend to this ambiguous project dimension.

The project includes a public transparency consultation scenario and its piece of architectural infrastructure : a symbolic item composed of a meeting space shaped in reverse of the classical lighthouse typologie, giving its power to its structural diplomatic witnessing dock.


Who influences you graphically?

For this project, and as is often the case, the influences are never purely graphic, always quite decisive, diversely scattered, randomly discovered, rarely justified, probably misunderstood, potentially misused, usually lost, and occasionally found again. According to the ‘references’ document of this project, one could name without hierarchy : Moebius (« Ben Baxter était court, trapu, avec un torse de gorille … »), Heath Robinson’s deliciously absurd and highly technical illustrations, Brodsky and Utkin’s radical fictional graphic work, a black and white picture of Rossi’s Teatro del Mondo in the mist, OMA’s drawing for the parc de la Villette and Tatlin’s poster for the monument to the third international.

William Heath Robinson

Tatlin’s poster for the monument to the third international.

Everything started from the illustrations. First they were only very simple schematic drawings. The project developing, the need to present a more precise fiction increasing, and the mundane constraint of a panel displaying helping, the illustrations became this ambiguous comics/architectural drawing hybrid.  The necessity of then clearly addressing the project to the European Union lead to the creation of a web site hosting a simple film, both reusing the illustrations. The different mediums work as one unique object : an open letter to the EU presenting the ongoing updated project proposal.

Where do you see yourself as operating as an architect? 

I am interested in the vain definition of architecture as a discipline and I like the idea to succeed in trying to fail as brilliantly as possible. This means that I hope to have an architect activity able to intentionally question the architectural activity, in its practice and in its theory. Does this reply to the question ?

How has this project and your previous studies helped to shape your persona? 

My previous studies has been a mixture of two main ways of thinking. The first one asking for the affirmation of minimalist radical architectural conceptual ideas, favoring thoughts abstraction over their concrete reality. The second one, at the opposite, confronting the speculation to the real word strength, pushing us to take action within it – notably by going out of the school. My 4th year at UMA allowed me to merge them : I now radically use speculations to radically confront reality. The immensely enjoyable paradox is that I have never felt so anchored and able to act in the real world as since I have been working on this deeply fictional project.

What is the effect and purpose of the monochromatic palette?

The monochromatic palette has an interesting ambiguous graphic oscillation in between essential obvious simplicity and disorienting abstraction that seemed relevant for this project.

Apparently the end of the letter, whats next?

Trying to keep this project going. Answer and meet one of the European Union representative who kindly accepted to discuss about the project. Then react to this meeting and formulate a new project iteration.

How important was the element of irony for you? 

It was fondamental. The observation of an ironical paradox, that is the discrepancy between the claimed stakeholders vision for the sea protection and the sad fact of the waters conditions, is at base of the project. It uses this irony by relying on their honesty, and by proposing an actual realization of the pretended common goal, able to either disclose their dishonesty or offer them a possible solution.

Indeed the strength of the project rests in its own potential derision. It aims to critic, to promote or to create public transparent dialogue, by playing with its reception and its flexibility of being considered as an utopian fiction or as a possible and necessary reality. The bad faith degree of their claims regulates the good faith degree of the project. The more dishonest their statements are, the more absurd and critical the project become. The more they look for dialogue tools towards sea protection, the more the project could actually offer them.

This crucial project ironical ambiguity is generated by its way of representation. The graphics gather diverse hand-drawn cartoonish contexts within which enters the architectural proposal as a fixed unique computer-drawn object. The whole creates a harmonious discord blurring the understanding of the project as an actual serious proposal, swinging between a provocative absolute fiction and a yet to come reality.


Maïté is currently enrolled at the ENSA Paris Val de Seine (Paris, France), and has done her first year of master as an Exchange Student in UMA at Umeå architecture school in Sweden.