18:00 SAST

18:00  SAST

Re-enacting Phantasms

The Metamorphosis of the Temporal Parameters in an Abandoned Building

Veronica Frederico

BArch Hons 2022

Unit Leader: Dickson Adu-Agyei
Unit Tutor: Veronica Chipwanya
Unit Assistant: Demi Bridgland

Spectres of the Frame


Imagine a world where abandoned architecture is recreated not purely because of the egotistical narcissism of architects but rather as a result of what the architecture wants to become through the stories it tells. Lebbeus Woods commented on creating an architecture that tells a story by saying, “Architecture is usually driven by a pre-existing story and the structure itself should communicate that story, in addition to possibly inventing a new story of its own. This takes place when visitors to the space become part of the storyline and learn the story as they move through the structure.”

Architectural narratives are represented in many different ways, but past narratives are more often than not neglected. In this intervention, the abandoned building of Lorna Court is used as a case study for what it means to allow structures to dictate what they want to become as a result of studying the past and present narratives. Visual storytelling displays a history of the past, an identity for the present, and a story for the future to compare and appreciate. Architecture is an ever-present form of visual storytelling. The built environment has the ability to capture the history of a place and tell that story through space. Architecture forms a visual, spatial link between the past, present, and future, becoming a point in the timeline of a place and culture.

My findings last semester showed that the downfall of Lorna Court was founded in a single moment when a husband set his wife on fire – this led to the exploration of the idea of not only creating a space where the stories of the past can be showcased and projected but simultaneously a space where women can journey through and seek a form of awareness from abuse against them. Therefore the program of architecture will complement existing conditions but also serve the current and future needs of the area.

In order to capture the history of the place, however, this new function will take inspiration from the past and architecture from the present and adapt to a new setting, new needs, and new people. In creating a space that responds to social themes, which is violence against women, the design of a protest is introduced as a guide for the spatial layout with the aid of the program of a gallery and cinema to strengthen the elements that need to be highlighted. I specifically chose to look at a protest because it is, according to the book titled The Design of Protest by Tali Hatuka “an act of translation and it is the platform where the existing boundaries and limits of an existing paradigm are highlighted.” In this case, the existing paradigm is abuse against women.

The expected outputs are:
1. An architectural film – briefly telling the journey of the past, present and future proposition. The film will encompass architectural models and elements of the site.
2. A series of drawings showing and explaining the process.

Copyright © 2022 Graduate School of Architecture, University of Johannesburg, South Africa. All Rights Reserved.