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Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL

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Second Skin – Lutyens & Winkler

  • On September 24, 2005

A project that explores the structure of mind as mirrored by emergent architecture.

interactive architecture

Second Skin is a project that involves architecture students and professionals from around the globe to form the basis for a new emergent approach to architecture.

Urbanization and architectural strategies usually follow a vector from macro to micro, from general to specific, from prescribed and mandatory to subjective and personal. Second Skin turns this trajectory around, seeking a process of emergent design. Second Skin starts by examining patterns, qualia and structures seated within the unconscious that relate to conception of shelter and dwelling.

interactive architecture

These modules of mental processing are coaxed out through an application of a hypnotic induction technique and projected into the terrain of architecture. The Second Skin is an architectural space that corresponds to an enlarged self, that comprises aspects of memory, brain function and deeply rooted notions of protection and shelter. Essentially, Second Skin uses the processes of mind as a model for architectural approaches and at the same time uses architecture as a metaphor for housing the collective space of mind.

Each student listens to a trance-inducing audio track that is designed to evert architecturally based forms from the unconscious. The students draw their impressions on paper in a trance state, and record a detailed description of their impressions, such as specific qualities relating to size, form, structure, materials, viewpoint, kinaesthetic and proprioceptive experiences related to their own Second Skin.

interactive Architecture

The next stage of the project involves everting this information into a format that can be objectively assessed, mapped, processed and reconfigured. The aim is to build a model of an intratypical dwelling, or in short, a structure that emerges and evolves from a morphing and merging of a collective of intratypes.


also visit ArtBrain for an article about the project written by Tania Lopez Winkler.

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