Julia Cramer

Julia Cramer

London. Hand and Head. RWTH Aachen (Germany)

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Project info London. Hand and Head tells of people who are of particular importance to our cities. Craftsmen. Terms like craftsmanship seem to have disappeared with the emergence of the industrial society, a second look, however, shows that craft is one of our most important driving forces in the city. Through the dialogue of hand and head, craftsmen have a special ability to appropriate spaces.

The project proposes a new place of work next to the City of London where the ruin of the Bishopsgate Goodsyard is a singular element within the linear structure of the railway arches. The former archipelago has been abandoned since a fire in 1964 and is divided into individual fragments. It interweaves once private rooms with public spaces which reveal its functional interior to the exterior. The project aims to locate the community of craftsmen in the city by relating it to its society. In order to manifest our material culture today, it tries to understand the peculiarities of the community rather than creating a nostalgic image of craftsmanship.

The process-orientated design focuses on regaining the site’s functional qualities but also on making the former station a public space. The process does not represent an absolute state but provides space for experimentation. It has been developed in chronologically undetermined conditions narrated by four hand-painted images intended to create a high level of accessibility: Winter, Spring, Summer, and Autumn.

The history of the site is a fundus of ideas represented by the ruin rather than a strict set of rules. It completes the ruin in the sense of Brian Dillon: „The ruin is a site not of melancholy or mourning but of radical potential-its fragmentary, unfinished nature is an invitation to fulfill the as yet unexplored temporality it contains. Ruins are freighted with possibility, even with utopian promise.

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