kim bjarke
Diploma 9

The Encased Copy

This project is investigating the relationship between the original architectural object and its copies. Contrary to general opinion in today’s society the project is based on the argument that the copy is not something bad, devalued or impure, it is instead something to cherish. 

The argument is visualized through a scenario of multiple iterations of copying, creating a context in which our preconceived ideas of the copy can be re evaluated.

The background of the project is derived from a fictional expansion of Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, which creates the physical context of the project. The expansion of the campus is made through the reproduction of the original Miesian buildings on the campus.

The consequence of the compulsive repetition of building types, which soon came to expand over a vast area, was a disappearance of context which had defined the smaller framed campus. With the continuous campus the buildings no longer offered an ordered refuge from the dense surrounding city, instead the campus had become a city in itself.

To stop the expansion of the campus the reproduced buildings are encased in an inhabitable shell. But the encasement not only serves as a containment of the expansive forces of the campus, it is also resurrecting the reproduced buildings that before through an excessive proliferation were reduced to everyday objects. This resurrection is made through the transformation of the reproduced buildings into new originals.

The encasement creates a new context through which the reproduced buildings are now perceived. However this context is not just defined as a physical proximity between new and old, it also engages with the main subject of the project; the relationship between the original architectural object and its copies.

The decay of the original Crown Hall is seen behind the foreground of a student hall. The foreground is fictional. The absence of inhabitation is reinforced through the traces left behind. The image is intended to question the relationship between the original and reproduced object in their physical nature but also in the production of images. A photo of a decaying interior of the original crown hall hangs on display inside one of the reproduced copies.A reproduced copy of the Crown Hall is turned into a swimming pool. The swimming pool and the offset railing are elements taken from an image of Lafayette Park. The image of the swimming pool is intentionally taken from another project by Mies. The appropriation of the copy becomes a replication of program within the work of Mies.  A copy of the Carr Chapel is turned into a convenience store. This appropriation is perhaps paradoxically more suitable to the formal language of the building than the original program. The original IIT campus is seen in the centre of the drawing, only including the plan of the buildings originally designed by Mies which are now left to decay. These buildings provided the blueprints for the encased reproduced buildings that are surrounding the original campus.  Axonometric view of the encasement structure showing the proximity between the original facades of the reproduced buildings, and the copied facades embedded in the encasement.  The encasement is a thick solid cast resin structure. It not only encases the building behind but also new student housing that is fitted in between its thick walls. Night view of the Crown Hall encasement with a diffused light coming from the inhabitation of the shell. The corners of the encasement structures of the Crown Hall and Wishnick Hall are overlapped, creating an unobstructed view in the middle of the image.    The programmatic inhabitation of the encasement is challenging the static image of the miesian architecture. The 'dirt' of the inhabitation is affecting the purity of the architectural object.