Outside-In Building : The Floatel
MA project Royal College of Art 1996

Design for a float tank centre set in the middle of busy Camden Market, London.
Inverting the senses of sound, sight and gravity through the experience of the building.

One of the key focuses of the building was on site specific 'Dissociated Sound'.
This is sound that has become dissconnected or separated from its original point source in space or time.
The building picks up the sounds of the outside market and plays them back directly on the inside of the solid wall.
This makes the blue concrete building transparent in one direction to sound - twisting our expectations of solidity.
Buildings modify our auditory space, they are different when we enter them - not this time, as it sounds the same.

The Main Entrance Building:


A monolithic sculptural solid of blue concrete with minimal architectural detail. At night the structure floats on a cushion of light.
The Core Ten steel roof bleeds rust onto the walls. On market days the stalls surround the structure.


Long Section


Short Cross Section

 

The Entrance Chamber:

Entering the concrete solid you expect your
sound environment to change, but the interior is filled with the site specific flurry
of the exterior relayed via embeded microphone and speaker circuits in the walls. It sounds almost idential to the exterior
without any visual reference. A one way sound barrier. Walls are made of visually abororbent foam and the visitor
re-pictures the source of the soundscape in their minds eye. The ramp is the only light source and is designed to
make a racket when walked upon. Gravity is celebrated.

 

 

Bridge Corridor:

A triple glazed one way mirrored corridor. From the outside it is an opaque reflective extrusion. Inside the triple glazing
ensures that you hear nothing from the market. Sight and sound are seperated. Half way down, you look out onto a mirrored
bull board, the reflection of which is the external mirrored glass. The building then dissapears in it's own anti-reflection.


Cross section through the triple glazed bridge infinity corridor

 

Reception:

The float tank wing is designed to force a sense of the outside in. Materials have an exterior finish.

 

Float Tank Wing:

The glazing amplifies the relationship of the interior to the exterior.

 

Float Tank rooms:

In a normal float centre the tanks are located in tiny rooms or claustrophibic cacoons. Here the visitor can loose all sense of
thier orientation to the outside world as the tanks allow them to freely rotate 360 degrees. The ceiling is clad in wool to
abosorb all sounds coming from the tank and hence isolate the visitor more. A sense of freedom in their isolation, total blackness.

 

All the sensory experiences are reveresed on the way out of the bulding.