Friday, 9 October 2015

Mapping the maze...

Is this structure an intrinsically impractical building? You might consider the heart of University College Dublin's central campus, the so-called UCD Newman Joyce Precinct, to be Ireland's own minor example of architecture that drives its users mad.

Would you like to experience what if feels like to be a lab rat in a maze? Try navigating through the Newman building's maze-like identical internal corridors, with orthogonal carbon copy junctions and stairwells, and no view of the outside world. Any building that has trackways marking its interior is a clear indication that the architects have failed to design for human (humane?) use. The corridors of the Newman are painted with colour coded tracks starting from an obscure services dock on the first floor. These coloured lines snake through the complex to ambiguous destinations like 'section EH'. The Joyce Library is no better.

That said, I have a grudging respect and possibly admiration for the structure and its designers for demonstrating that objects like this may exert agency and confound us. To such effect that even brilliant academics get lost. Is reminds me that the physical corporeal world can still kick back at us humans.

Ref: "Getting Lost in Buildings" (link) Carlson et al. (2010)