venice architecture biennale 08: ben nicholson venice architecture biennale 08: ben nicholson
sep 29, 2008

venice architecture biennale 08: ben nicholson

variations of labyrinth designs hand-drawn by ben nicholson
image © designboom

used in greek mythology, a labyrinth is a mapping tool which has only one path to the centre. all other external paths are discarded. ben nicholson’s project ‘going walkabout’ looks to the complex labyrinth as a raw architectural plan without any substance. through hand-drawn monocursal labyrinths, nicholson tries to find answers in how we are to design for the white spaces which surround us. walls and windows are often the foundations of architecture, building up a formal, fixed space, but a labyrinth tends to work well when a design is committed to a memory and set down anywhere a person sees fit. the one path in and out of a labyrinth has the potential to create its own design, a place marked by humans through a collective repetitive act.

with a labyrinth you are lead into nothingness – a place which is nowhere. your feet are pulling you in one direction but, your imagination and curiosity take you somewhere else. it is a place which sparks the crossing of paths between people, intermingling, backs of hands touch against one another, you come face to face with someone else. at one moment you are enveloped by others walking around you, and then the roles reverse and you are walking around others, closing in on the space around them. cities are rich when they have accumulated the collective energy which has been left in places by individuals, and perhaps the labyrinth is the ideal way of harnessing this energy.

detail of hand drawings which wallpaper the space image © designboom

image © designboom

image © designboom

image © designboom

a view of the development of the monocursal labyrinths that nicholson has drawn image © designboom

image © designboom

detail of a hand-drawn labyrinth by ben nicholson

venice architecture biennale:

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