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Paper Thin / The paper factory @ UoB (2002/3)
This year, our undergraduate studio at the University of Brighton explored ideas about materials, making and combined live/work spaces. Paper was the material we chose to work with in one way or the other throughout the year, exploring its potential for sustainable and beautiful ways of making space.

We started with an exploratory project, PAPER-THIN INSIDE. Over three weeks students made paper, tested its visual and structural qualities and built full-size space-modifying devices for their studio.
Proposal for a multipurpose beach-side paper making factory located adjacent to Shoreham Harbour. The image shows the first stage of construction, when the building's core provides changing rooms for a swimming club and essential paper-making facilities. (image: Alice Constantine 2003)
Having worked inside, we moved outdoors and continued our experiments with paper and space-making in a live project, PAPER-THIN OUTSIDE. Working with residents of the Guinness Trust Estate in Lancing, students made full-size external structures for use by children living on the estate, at the same time helping residents develop proposals for estate improvements. Students now challenged the spatial possibilities and structural properties of paper further, to withstand wind, rain and bodies. Wood, stone, leather and rope supplemented paper, so that structures could become structural.
Photomontage showing one of several full-scale installations made by students for PAPER-THIN OUTSIDE. Paper was used to construct a canopy as well as provide a surface for drawing and writing on. The paper canopy was contained within a timber frame big enough for people to enter. The paper was hung from the frame and its position adjusted using a set of strings. The installation provided an interactive space able to change its form and record, through writing and drawing, residents' ideas about future improvements to their estate. (image: Alice Constantine 2002)
During the second half of the year, students developed individual proposals for a paper factory with connected accommodation. The sites in Shoreham and Newhaven, both on the coast, have a strong physical presence and are well-sited in relation to the practical needs of a small factory, e.g. adjacent distribution networks or public walkways. Students' paper making expertise enabled them to test and judge their proposals from the position of potential occupants and a good understanding of architectural possibilities within the paper making process. These studies were overlaid with investigations into a desired occupants’ lifestyle in and around the factory.
Sectional perspective of a paper factory showing the interior of the paper making spaces (image: James Joslin 2003)

location of course: School of Architecture and Design, University of Brighton, Great Britain
type of course: undergraduate architecture program, final year (yr 3), Bachelor of Arts
dates: 2002 — 2003

studio staff: André Viljoen, Katrin Bohn

collaborateurs: Jyri Kermic, tutorial support / 41 students

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