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Towerscan

Leeds Metropolitan University H Building

2001 Leeds Metropolitan Gallery

Between October 2000 and July 2001 the artist Charles Quick examined and investigated many aspects of H building a 10 storey tower block on the city campus of Leeds Metropolitan University, in order to gain an understanding of the electrical energy that passes through an architectural space in relationship to its occupants/users.

The research activity involved a number of different strategies to gain a broad understanding of the building. The first task was to resource the original, and contemporary plans, while mapping all its occupants and their use of space. This was followed by collecting information about the building's history. Then all its internal spaces were documented and examined in order to gain a spacial understanding of the architecture. The second line of enquiry involved visiting every area including offices, studios, and workshops to take photographs that recorded the building visually from the inside out. Whilst the artist was in these spaces he made a record of all the light fittings and electrical objects in the building calculating how much potential electrical energy could flow through the building. At the same time he informally interviewed the people he met in the rooms about their own responses to the building. This resulted in collecting archetypal urban myths and stories. At the end of this process, practical tests using blue light sources, were carried out during one evening in rooms on the 9th floor.

The resulting research was presented at Leeds Metropolitan University Gallery in August 2001, from which a number of proposals have emerged. These explore the relationships between the electrical energy, the users of the building, and the formalist architecture. Electric light would be used to articulate the occupants/users understanding of H buildings functions and dysfunction's, histories, and different uses of the spaces. This would be achieved by installing a series of controlled light sources in every space that had a window, data cables would link these in turn to a control processor that would turn each light on and off independently, creating a catalogue of responses to the building and the artists research.

This document has been created as a record of the project to date and as an indication of what could be achieved.

 

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