port of london authority (the rise and fall of the icon) Part 2 Project 2010 James Wignall
Royal College of Art London UK
"James Wignall’s thesis is a critique of the architectural preoccupations of the last century. The endless towers as icons of power and progress have been tipped over in an environmentally driven argument that takes them logically to their next incarnation.
Here the flat surfaces suggest endless growth as they adapt to the rising water and the shifting cityscape. By turning the environmental challange into a very real and local condition James makes the rising of the Thames into an urban and architectural generator. His thesis is intelligently locked into an historical trajectory of architectural ambitions, from the Tower of Babel to the Mile High Tower of Frank Lloyd Wright, and with this project he investigates what happens after ‘the end of the icon’.
James examines current ecological, economic and political realities through the medium of architecture itself. By zooming out to the scale of Google Earth, the ongoing horizontal growth of this new ‘aquatic waterline’ replaces the old iconic skyline.
This was a very powerful conclusion to his work as a student over the last two years. From the small scale tectonic to the urban scale political critique, in each case James has interrogated his subject with rigour and carried his research to a completely convincing and coherent conclusion.”