Para-Scraper

Project

“Good taste is not simply good taste; there exists, indeed, a good taste of bad taste”

(Susan Sontag, Notes on Camp)

Para-Scraper

The greatest bad skyscraper

para-scraper

/ˈparə-skʌɪskreɪpə/ˈ

  1. comprises of the works dismissed as not architecture
  2. atrocious; awful; imperfect

Man is on a ceaseless quest to achieve greatness. In our pursuit to build the greatest structure of all time we often undermine the little skirmishes which actually make the design worthwhile. Hence we are on a journey to attain the world’s worst skyscraper, an antithesis to the current architectural paradigms in every sense. By turning ourselves over to design for imperfection and unacceptability, we are attempting to explore this insane realm of poor architectural choices.

Through willful atrocious designing, we are delving into a passive exploration of what makes bad architecture bad: What is important to the end user? What will our priorities be in ensuring comfortable conditions for the inhabitants of the structure?

Proposal

The para-scraper is completely a mess, overflowing with absurdity. A satire in a way to the recent situation in architectural design practices, particularly developer based because the bad architecture does exist in our lives. Perhaps, if we are forced to look the other way we may find the alternative.

The process then starts with this single approach, almost like a toddler playing with his blocks unknowing what he is doing, only driven by his extinct. The distinction between the primary(structural) and secondary mass(ornamental) is almost indiscernible.

Elements

//system evolution
Preparing the right methodology of architecture design building process including preparing a proper concept, site analysis, design formulation and then turning the list upside down.

//massing
A mix of primary(active) and secondary(inactive) masses. Here this is no concept of mass. The skyscraper has so much secondary mass, the primary mass is reduced to a role of filling the gaps.

//chamber formation
Silkworms will weave a chaotic branch-like structure around an irregular array of blocks. Based on the principles of swarm behaviour, digital estimation of the paths produces such a result.

Highlights

The project is modelled in a way that everyone seeks a different conclusion based on there inferences and experiences of a space.

Bedrooms shrouded in darkness, the circulations systems which are not completely discernable, individually some of the spaces are only accessible through the bathroom and there are very few windows, needless to say, the positioning is completely off.

A ludicrous journey is necessary for the inhabitants of the residential establishment situated at the very top of the structure.

The office spaces are unevenly carved out on the circular plan, all centred around the toilet, arguably the most used space in the office.

Conclusion 

Though it might seem comical, the premise of the structure provokes some interesting questions regarding our perception of good architecture?

A crucial part of the scheme is to fade away the fine line between logical and imaginary. The appreciation of it is an affair of intellect and not of feeling. It is a world of intentional melancholy. A world without an organization that requires no solution. It serves as a high sign for urbanites to investigate their own established confines.

Interview

What defined the language of representation of the project?

The idea behind the representation was to keep it comical yet a little pragmatic in the sense that even a layman could understand it. Plans and Sections that don’t really convey much other than the absurdity. We wanted people to read between the lines (representations) because that is where the real fun lies. For example, the way out of the dining room leads you through the toilet, I mean sure that is not a bad option but you wouldn’t really want to go through that?

How important was the drawing as a tool through which to develop and articulate the proposal?

Drawing was a very integral part of representing this antithesis, as it was the only way we could link the comic and logical explanations. The plans of different structures are meant to be criticized because these pointers of the criticism shall be the pointers for better architecture.

What inspired and prompted you to focus on bad architecture? How has this affected how you operate as an architect?

The obvious inspiration was my everyday experiences with, we are just surrounded by lazy and un-innovative architectural choices that have been imposed on us.

We also came across a few articles regarding ‘world’s worst buildings’ which I thought were pretty amusing.

In a way, all these experiences will not matter until you sit and down and draw something intentionally bad yourself and realise how incredibly fun yet laborious it is.

Could you give us a list of examples of bad architecture for you and why?

I visited Tate Museum in London once, at the top of the newly built extension you have a viewing deck of sorts which gives you a 360 view of the London Cityscape but on the Southern West side it also opens itself to the expansive views inside the numerous NEO Bankside Apartments, which I thought was outrageous. Miscommunication or Architecture Rivalry but it was one the worst decisions I have seen by reputed architecture firms. No wonder there was a lawsuit involved.

The other example is the doors, I mean stop putting pull handles on a door which says Push. The most trivial of mistakes.

Can we avoid bad architecture? How can we be certain of making good architecture? What does this entail?

Oh yes! We can avoid bad architecture, we just need to discuss it in the open forum and in the architectural studios. Let everyone decide for themselves what is wrong or bad for them. Good Architecture is a result of calculative choices and shedding of the Housing Builder or Property Realtor mindset, square Footage shall be the death of good architecture.

Good architecture should neither be boring or alienating or wasteful, it should represent qualities which make us human.

What is your take on the contemporary condition of architecture competitions? Do you enter many? How do these sit in relation to the other work you do?

We occasionally enter a few, Architecture Competitions have increased thick and fast, there is something for everyone all the time, which is good but the only issue we have is sometimes the end product of such competitions is just a set of pretty pictures. We would love to see the involvement of the real decision makers in the government and or private who ensure that some of these projects see the daylight. This will in return help the architecture competitions churn out more new and innovative architecture firms.

These competitions have been a great experience and a learning platform all during my time in college.

What are your working on at the moment?

Currently, I am writing my Undergraduate Architectural Thesis (5th Year), The project is an Eco Research Institute coupled with a Conflictorium on shores of a mountain lake (Prashar) in the Himalayas under the prerogative of eco-tourism projects in India. The idea is to make cave-like interiors on the cliff like site, using the stable temperature conditions required for the research laboratories, underground.   

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