This page is in progress, and was last updated 2021-08-16. The project started in summer 2020 and will end in summer 2022.

MPhil in Architecture and Urban Design, University of Cambridge.

Astronomers essentially do just one thing. They attempt to separate a distant version of reality from their optical instruments and workflows. For the past few centuries, the contemporary architect has done almost exactly the same thing in design stages. We use ocularcentric tools such as our eyes, pencils, cameras, models, etc., to separate what we really want from what the tools really want. We’re bound to these tools because contemporary design stages deal with scaled space, proxy space, and other methods that are positioned at a distance far from the kinaesthetic reality that architecture ultimately exists within at 1:1. This separation of reality from optical apparatus points to the persuasive and somewhat controlling elements of optical design tools. Flat, rectilinear paper persuades the orthographic plan and section in relation to our eyes, for example. There are innumerable persuasions to a designer within this ocularcentric world. Astronomers call these ‘the signature of the instrument’ and attempt to objectively separate them out from their subjects. Architects, however, treat them as implicit. This project attempts to understand the common, implicit optical languages of the contemporary architect through a comparative study into the explicit world of astro-imaging, and agitate the perceptual realm which supports that common language. This agitation is put towards the redesign of the basecamp accommodation at the Very Large Telescope in Chile’s Atacama Desert, in design collaboration with the astronomers who live and work there, as a form of restoration. Restoration of the basecamp back to its optically inherent roots, and the restoration of optics as an involved agent in design workflows. Below shows a rundown of the work.