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City of Zagreb
City Office for Physical Planning, Construction, Communal Affairs and Traffic


Faculty of Architecture
University of Zagreb


City Acupuncture


Oris - House of Architecture




City of Zagreb
City Office for Culture, Education and Sport


Republic of Croatia
Ministry of Culture

Work title: The Doomers'' Ball

Juror's comment
Starting the brief talking about "Man’s insatiable greed for wealth" is a very good point. When we envisioned this cycle, our aim was to make a provocation to think on architecture beyond architecture, which of course includes, to talk about human behavior. Personally, I love the poetic of the project. Even if it''''''''s not a proposition about the future of money or related, is only a refuge for the forthcoming collapse. Maybe not the first prize, but to be shortlisted? Pre-selected [EBP]. The oil platform as a symbol of the folly of the times. A fall through colored rooms as atmospheres. Hope replaced by a delirious celebration, and Aurora Borealis as the only arctic reference. No money needed in this delirium. [CRN]
What use is it to talk of money, power and territory in the face of inevitable and total environmental collapse? What is gained by dividing up the arctic, except knowledge that such artificial barriers are destined to be disputed, circumvented or ignored in the face of Man’s insatiable greed for wealth? There is a group of environmentalists named the Doomers. The Doomers’ believe that humanity’s over reliance on oil will generate an inescapable civilizational collapse when oil supplies run out, and environmental conditions caused by its frenzied excavation worsen. Their response in the face of the forthcoming apocalypse is to ‘ignore civilisation to death’: to prepare family and community for the imminent collapse of civilisation through the establishing of isolationist, survivalist villages. Edgar Allan Poe’s short story Masque of the Red Death tells us of a prince who, when faced with devastating plague across his domains – the titular Red Death – walls himself and one thousand guests in a sealed abbey far from the disease-ridden towns and cities. In this place, a grand masque occurs over seven coloured rooms; a magnificent and grotesque affair in which the troubles of the outside world are quickly forgotten. In the seventh and final room, a grand ebony clock loudly and implacably chimes each hour of the masque, and with it the music and dancing pauses as the revellers are made momentarily aware of the hopelessness of their situation. Ultimately, the Red Death cannot be kept at bay, and finds its way inside: “And one by one dropped the revellers in the blood-bedewed halls of their revel, and died each in the despairing posture of his fall. And the life of the ebony clock went out with that of the last of the gay. And the flames of the tripods expired. And Darkness and Decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all.” We are proposing a ball for the Doomers; a place in which they can ignore civilisation as it collapses around them, distant from the cities and towns but situated at the heart of the matter at Svalbard – the arctic being one of the last wildernesses, due to be torn apart in the insatiable desire for oil. It is not the Red Death that holds a grip on this land, but the Black Gold, and the inevitability of the collapse it heralds. Although there is no escape from this certainty, the Doomers will, at least, delude themselves in the remaining years, and be given refuge in the light of one of nature’s most incredible effects. They will hold their ball in seven rooms, each coloured by the different aspects of the Aurora Borealis. Although we often recognise the Northern Lights as a vivid green effect, its colour is related to both altitude and atmospheric composition interacted with by the sun’s rays. Through careful and precise positioning and atmospheric manipulation, the Doomers Ball is able to house seven rooms, each coloured as the colours of Poe’s Masque: blue, purple, green, orange, white, violet and, finally, reddish black. We base the form of our proposal on the Prirazlomnaya oil platform. Its elements become our ballrooms, each bathed in a different colour. In place of the coloured glass of Poe’s story, the varied colours of the aurora site the rooms in a procession leading upwards to the stars. They are fragments whose only context is colour, an atmosphere that envelops them and removes them from the constraints of reality as the Doomers Ball requires. The oil platform is a suitable symbol of the folly of the times, all but certain to wreck the arctic in catastrophic failure, and ultimately contribute to the doom of us all. Our ball is for those who acknowledge this fate, and for whom hope has been replaced by delirious fantasy.
Work details
Application Number 0000402496
Author Ozga-Lawn, Matt , United Kingdom
Coauthors Craig, James A, United Kingdom
Ozga-Lawn, Matthew , United Kingdom
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