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ADS12: Sight/Seeing

Jamie Kuehn

Prior to starting her postgraduate studies at the Royal College of Art, Jamie did her Architecture BA at the State Academy of Fine Arts in Stuttgart, Germany. She gained her practical experience at Casper Mueller Kneer Architects in London, working on private residential projects and exhibition design for the Barbican Art Gallery.  


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High Holdings Gallery

Degree Details

School of Architecture

ADS12: Sight/Seeing

Jamie is interested in translating abstract concepts and research into atmospheric spaces and experiences. On the basis of studying in History of Art and Chinese Studies before starting her architecture education, Jamie’s work is characterised by theoretical concepts and the context of history and culture. More recently she explored new methods to represent architectural projects both materially and visually. Within the interdisciplinary frame and workshop culture of both the Academy and the Royal College of Art, working with a variety of materials has informed her tactile approach to projects.  

Site Apparition — Disguising as one of its neighbouring buildings - like a Doppelganger, the extended Mirador reflects and distorts its environment. As a shadow, mirrored above Mirador Mansion, it blurs into Kowloon’s mountain chain.

‘Apparitions are creatures with neither tail nor head or things by the roadside that we were never searching for.’ (Georges Didi-Huberman)

The anonymous realm of metropoles with a society in perpetual motion is difficult to categorise. The disappearance of culture creates a world which fosters multiple identities within cities, buildings and within a single subject. The act of disappearing is closely linked to apparitions that dissolve the momentary state into a new appearance. It is a process of becoming something else unexpectedly.
The project explores the advantages of unexpectedness and ambiguity in a residential skyscraper in Hong Kong. The city’s unique temporal and cultural intermediate state between Great Britain (until 1997) and China (from 2047) adds to the hyper-legibility of the space, giving room to contradiction and difference. By accepting a multifaceted environment and society; conservative division is overcome through an architectural project and disappears into a time- and placelessness.

Places that suggest that discontinuities and all its influences make up Hong Kong’s identity, are disappearing. The composite building typology such as Mirador and Chungking Mansion is often overlooked and misinterpreted. Like heterotopic microcosms with shops, restaurants, guesthouses and apartments, they harbour all the city’s diverse aspects. Due to the government’s demolition policy, redevelopment is lurking above them. The traditions of Hong Kong cinema have raised an awareness for the cultural value of Chungking Mansion and are said to have saved the building from demolition. Like momentary inventories of the city, its inhabitants and their interior, psychological world, the films capture Hong Kong’s transient character like a kaleidoscope of colours and identities.
Similar to a city scale film studio, this project investigates how the creation of multiple stories, spaces and layers of identification contributes to a building’s cultural significance at the example of Mirador Mansion.

Entrance — As viewed from Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui

Ventilation and Astrology — The ventilation levels can be used as laundries and drying rooms and perform as feng shui solutions at the same time. The project is juxtaposing seemingly contradictory aspects that prepares the architecture for transformation and contemporary adjustment. With drawing attention towards qualities that tend to be overlooked, because they don’t fit into traditional cultural categories, the proposal performs like a stage or the set of a film that allows the simultaneity of contradictions, real and fictional.

Sampling Plans — There is the Underground storage and MTR station at Level-2. An underground car park modelled after a motel. The existing shopping mall at ground level and residential floors above. The proposed extension contains a spacious lobby, Supermarket aisles in the shape of the coastal offset. The floors of a public housing scheme. Chinese and Western astrology as well as feng shui requirements affect the ventilation levels. A cinema and auditorium modelled on the floorplan of a roman nymphaeum. Penthouses and suites that reference the surrounding hotels ‘The Peninsula’, ‘The Intercontinental’ as well as Chateau Marmont.

Section — The proposed vertical structure has no restrictions on its internal use and integrates empty sites, stands and displays.

Guest room — Like the stories and myths that enliven a building, a building can become an innovative site of collaboration and contestation for the city and its citizens.

Membrane facade
Mirador Mansion’s neon signs radiate nostalgia and futurism simultaneously. The project maintains Mirador Mansion’s status quo as a composite building. It imagines its accessibility from below and its extension above a mirror plane that doubles its characteristics.

Velvet Dress — In order to embed apparitional qualities into an object, a material test with velvet was made. Due to its three-dimensional properties, velvet is a material that is receptive to traces. The traces appear in the depth of the fabric and disappear in its alternating shades.

Scenario — A velvet dress with custom engraved traces of reptile skin creates ambiguity. Different scenarios can be imagined: The dress being found in a hotel room with imprints of a leather bag or the dress being found by a river with traces of an unexpected encounter.

Motel room

Chateau Marmont — In the case of Chateau Marmont, a Hollywood celebrity hotel, the many famous residents and legendary stories create its identity. Mundane and exceptional events make objects and spaces become alive.

Laundry receipt — A laundry receipt of the Mirador Hotel as object of evidence.

Hotels and motels accommodate most diverse identities. Their spaces and atmospheres are a form of neutral screen onto which subconscious character traits or desired personalities can be projected. They are so to say spaces that facilitate apparitions.

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