One Shot Wonder
Harvard GSD Core II Studio | Critic: Jenny French | 6 weeks | Spring 2017
One Shot Wonder explores simultaneity in architecture through projection and representation. Referencing the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls, the project reinterprets the basilica as a film studio that imagines the remake of Russian Ark (2002), a one-shot film by Alexander Sokurov filmed in the Hermitage Museum that takes the views through 300 years of St Petersburg’s history.
Considering the continuous shot technique of this film, the proposal collages spaces from the church to produce sound stages connected laterally and sectionally that are targeted for long takes, but can also be subdivided into smaller sound stages for simultaneous filming processes.
Both the Hermitage Museum and the precedent of the basilica are essentially organized around an enfilade circulation system that traverses rooms and halls of various sizes. The project maintain a generic appearance of classicism in the sound stages of this studio, while allowing for a reasonable construction technique that bridges front of house and back of house program spaces.
This results in the appropriation of walls from the Basilica of St Paul as artifice, something that bears the semblance of a classical architecture, but does not reflect the construction techniques of the basilica. A steel frame structure that selectively coincides with the artificial architectural elements supports both the sound stages and back of house spaces.
Sound stages visually bleed into back of house production spaces through forced perspectives in prescribed filming directions, opening up passageways for production staff to provide continuous support during long takes, and also setting up axes around which back of house spaces are organized.
Finally, the film studio is enclosed by a corrugated metal exterior wall whose openings are projected apertures from back of house spaces. This offers sightlines into the surrounding of the building from back of house spaces, but not from sound stages, establishing the back of house production spaces as a buffer between the sound stages, bridging the historical and the contemporary.