DAVID MEIKLEJOHN & ALENA PAVAN
In an age of almost unbelievable anxiety and uncertainty, people lean more and more on rationality, science, and reason. While these things are certainly valuable, they are not everything. Where’s the humanity, the emotion, the unpredictability, the feeling, the intuition in it all? What does an architecture that embraces the UnReason, the NonScience, the DumbLogic look like? More importantly, what does it feel like? How do we make it? Who builds it? How do we live in it?
To test this out, we find ourselves at the Palm Motel. The Palm is an embodiment of the ordinary and everyday forces which push design forward in a more straightforward way than any architect’s master plan ever could. Life at the palm is anything but a permanent spectacle. It’s dirty, it’s damp-cracked-and-peeling, it’s partially flooded and clogged with hair and cigarette butts. It counters dogmatic seriousness, absolute certainty, and ultimate efficiency, and instead offers a carnivalesque approach to architecture - one which rejects the pursuit of irrefutable formal solutions, motivated by an acceptance that architecture is hardly immune to the forces of time.
We need to embrace the carnivalesque to avoid being caught in the dullness of life. Carnival asks us to celebrate the mundane, and find absurdity in day-to-day choreography. Life is only dull if we let it sit still. Carnival life is in perpetual motion, changing states at any moment, minute, or year.
The Renovation was phased based on availability of local materials.
Phase 1: Salvage wood and other materials from the abandoned motel.
Phase 2: Use those materials to build a ceramics workshop to start making bricks and tiles for the continued renovation.
Phase 3: Salvage materials created by the operations of the model to continue the renovation.
The project was driven by a close exploration of the existing design details at the Palm Motel. We celebrated the moments in the design of the building that had clearly evolved over time, those details which had been taken, modified, and adapted to suit new users. We took that same design approach as we remodeled the motel. Our work was to build on that evolution and celebrate the ad hoc nature of what already existed.
thena tak [chair]