28 07 2010

GROUP NAME: parola
GROUP PROJECT: roma 10 s.maria d.pieta
GROUP MEMBERS: Joann Lui, RJ Wells, Adam Lasota, Shawntel Young, David Florez
ASSIGNMENT:  workshop 1

The Story Begins…

Once upon a time, there was a psychiatric hospital called Santa Maria Della Pieta. This hospital was seen as an embarrassment to the city and the family members of the patients. The first decision was to set the asylum far from the city “out of sight, out of mind.”  This hospital was one of the largest hospitals with 3000 patients and about 850 nurses.

But there was a problem, instead of the hospital trying to help the patients, it acted as a containment for those who were unacceptable to the standards of society. The hospital was split down in the middle, with males to the right and females to the left, allowing for the central axis to be shared as services. As though they were in jail, patients were in a complete lock-down, never being allowed to leave the pavilions they lived in, and they were only able to experience the gorgeous park visually through a glass window from the room. Though this life does not seem like the most ideal life, for most of the patients it was the only life they could have. Children being admitted at as young as 5 and many others being born there, they all had no chance to go outside. Once admitted, it was hard to prove your sanity and only allowed to be discharged by being signed out by a family member. Since the family did not want anyone “crazy” to bring their name down, its is nearly impossible to leave the asylum.

With the hospital closing, and the patients slowly leaving in a duration of 20 years, the asylum was left abandoned, a nice place left unused. Since 1999, the asylum has been in minimal use: most of the buildings were only left locked, gardens left to die, fountains built by the nurses all left unused and damaged. This place was left to fall apart and it’s once beautiful area has almost been forgotten.

10 years later…

The story doesn’t end quite just yet. A new chapter begins when 22 architecture students from New Jersey Institute of Technology entered this asylum with absolutely no idea of what they were getting into. They moved into Pavilion 31, which was originally a laundry building. Building shower stalls, cleaning up bathrooms, setting up dormitory space, they tried their best to make this a livable space for the fore-coming week.

And we, known as PAROLA, are part of them.

The Parola Story…

Our story in Santa Maria Della Pieta is documented in a map, not just a usual street map you find in a newspaper stand or goggle map that you can find online. It is a WORD MAP.  It is compiled of layers and layers. The layers were recorded on a word map with two parameters: the color of the word and the type of paper in which they are written on. Each word states what the person experienced, the color stands for one of the five senses how the word has been experienced:

blue – TOUCH
black – SEE
orange – TASTE
green – SMELL
red – HEAR
purple – EMOTION

and the type of paper differentiates the paths:

The green path brought together each of our own derives. With each derive, we obtained an unique understanding of the site by our choice in which we decided to wander about.The different choices include:

Dave ran erratically from Pavilion 31 straight to the main gate mimicking a patient trying to escape from the hospital.

Joann was blind-folded and guided by RJ to walk towards the gate. We took a different route than the usual route to the gate and experienced the complex mainly with hearing, feeling and smelling.

Adam walked around the site guided by different things he saw along the way.

Shawntel explored many abandoned buildings in the complex and found some interesting things and spaces.

The green and yellow map paper represents a site investigation that we embarked together on bicycles. The choice of transportation made the experience along the path different than the others. Along this path, it was more of a visual and audile documentation leading to a new social housing development within Monte Mario.

Our walk with Adriano, previously a male nurse for over 40 years in SMdP, was written on rugged grey newspaper reflecting the knowledge we learned of the past.

The brown cardboard marks the day that we climbed up the cliff outside the wall of the complex with Lorenzo (aka the Lorenzo walk).

Our last experience was a series of walk around SMdP with Lorenzo and Julia showing us potential sites for our final project which was written on plain white paper.

This diagram represents our understand of the principle of the site. We see the buildings like objects: each of them are of its own shape that will never fit into each other.

Mappa Mundi…

The Mapa Mundi that was assembled on the dance floor stage is an abstraction of the word map. The map translates the words that are more critical pertaining to their respective paths into objects which represent the same thoughts, things, smells, noises, and savors as the words. These objects were gathered together from a dumpster around our site.

click on the map above to see different colored paths.

Colored cables were used to represent the different paths taken; the blue represents our common derieves, the green and yellow represents our path through the hills and gardens behind the asylum, the brown cable shows our trajectory with Adriano, and the gray cable shows our path with bikes through the housing developments. A broken Nintendo console and a cartridge found inside represent children at play. Christmas ornaments represent multiple things; the colorful balls and cones show the positioning of police and security throughout the asylum, the garlands show where cats were roaming, a snowman shows children climbing through fences, and multicolored beads show concentration of people.  Pinecones and rocks were collected and used to depict tree density and buildings in the asylum respectively.

The Mapa Mundi is at its completion interacts with the other group’s manifestations of their experiences at Santa Maria de la Pieta. It shows how all of our experiences interweave to form our overall intervention with the site.

The Happy Ending…

We chose an agricultural garden, which held high importance when Santa Maria della Pieta was under full operation. Since its reopening as a public complex, the garden area has lost its luster. We intend to revive the garden and surrounding areas to make it a social place for public users.

The garden is located near the boundary, so it is crucial for us to draw attention of passer-bys along major paths.  We want to create a journey through existing spaces that we will re-envision and re-program, leading towards the final destination being the garden space itself.  This pathway will also hold high importance because we want to cross the boundary of Santa Maria della Pieta, which symbolizes the reconnection of the interior (SMdP) and the exterior (Roman society).

Our group, sees the beauty in this run-down garden that is right outside of the agriculture building. We are desperate to bring it back to its brightness using materials found on-site and bringing people in to experience the garden. Seeing it as an agricultural garden in its past life, we want to bring plants back into the garden, some native plants that will get people’s attention. So, by using any possible tools we found on site, we cleaned out the garden and its surrounding area to a point that we could build and create a new project.

The garden was not going to be able to draw people in alone, so we also needed to work with the spaces surrounding the garden. We first noticed different access points (both inside and outside of the asylum) that directed us to the garden. This will be a great opportunity to use the garden not only to draw people within SMdP but also to connect it to the outside, again breaking down the barrier of the complex.

..With all the intentions in mind, we created a PROCESSION.

Strolling along one of the major paths within the complex, an individual will approach a perpendicular path marked by a green banner hanging from the corner tree. The rest of the path is further emphasized by additional hanging orange banners smaller in size (giving importance to the entry banner) lining the interior pathway.

Nearing the slight bend in the path reveals an unattractive distant sight of a garbage pile. The banners are discontinued at the bend (which also features an intersection of a minor path) and the user will see a nearby public bathroom perpendicular to the path. When glancing away from the path towards the bathroom, there is an archway which reveals a distant green cloth placed on a tree. This in addition to a meandering stone pathway we constructed leads to a seating patio for leisure. Stepping up onto the patio makes the garbage disappear because the nearby building creates a visual obstacle.

In order to create a path to the garden, we used existing site conditions (more specifically the building façade) to extend a clear path to the patio. When the user walks towards the garden, to the left there is an area of trees designated for climbing and seating, essentially creating a more dynamic seating area. The next area is the garden space which we envisioned as the destination for our revitalized complex. The garden features an array of local plants that livens the space, enticing users to sit along the edge of the organic shaped planters.

To emphasis our idea of the procession, we utilized the line we manifested by extending the building façade, punctured through the boundary fence, and draping a green cloth over the foliage. This symbolizes the breakthrough, meshing the interior of the complex to the exterior, that being the Roman society.

Section A portrays the tree alleyway interior with the hanging banners

Section B portrays a cross section of the tree alleyway including the view extending through the public bathroom to the far tree

Section C portrays the tree sitting area, cross section through the garden, and the procession through the fence and beyond

..The Final Procession.

Final Thoughts…

When we as a class left our comfortable three-star hotel rooms at the Derby and came to the Ex-Lavanderia, we were in shock with the huge downgrade. Initially we were given mini clean up tasks and walking tours that were not desirable by any means. As each day passed, we were becoming more and more familiar with the complex and surrounding town, slowly gaining our interest. It wasn’t until the final day that our passion with revitalizing the site truly began to manifest. The final installation was a laborious day-long task, but what pushed us through to the end was our strong intentions of bringing back the luster, which was clearly lost over the past decade.




5 responses

2 09 2010
2 09 2010
TRASH MAPPING | july 23rd 2010 « joann viaggio

[…] check out this blog post for our final project documentation at SMdP: […]

2 09 2010
2 08 2010
Philip Speranza

The new text collages are intense. If you try this again for another exercise perhaps consider rotating the text or floating it more so it is not bound. That said, what you have is very clear.

The drawings are nice. The analog/digital collage is a good step but perhaps it can be more subtle and or try some color pencil / color ink.

Mappa Mundo is very good with the overlaying and layered effect. Nice job.

Consider some overall color / consistency graphically between the different hands of the work of your group.

Nice work!

29 07 2010

Great improvement! I see that you are working efficiently as a group.
Consider refining an alternate version of the text diagrams as text with orientation / size / weight as assigned to values of meanings for each.
**Think about the ritual and how it relates to TIME. How do you communicate the importance of the evolution of values by each person engaged in the gardens (turning the soil, planting, harvesting, etc.)

Try overlaying the analog drawing with the digital image. This may mean drawing and scanning and then overlaying with other images, and most importantly adjusting transparency of layers.
**You may wish to first try this with the mappa mundo which otherwise does not read very well for your project. What do you highlight? alos try this digitally. How do you push the differences of the highlight/abstract? What patterns emerge?
**You became the site. How did you merge with the site, as you suggest in your Final Thoughts.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s