Rievaulx Institute for Performing Arts

This preliminary design proposal for an institute for performing arts, to exist within the ruins of Rievaulx Abbey was designed while writing the Ruins essay within my Master's Thesis entitled Enframed. It is a critique of museum as a method of preservation, questioning the subject of preservation and suggesting framework as a possible mode of preserving the substance of ‘ruined’ architecture.

Rejecting the notion of perceiving ruin as a simple material for contemplation, the institute coexists with the ruin as the most recent episode in its architectural history, to preserve not its material artifact but its presence. The new entity grows from the framework of the ruins, to frame its historical, architectural, and material identity. It aims to inscribe a contemporary relation by introducing a new order to the old presence and reinstate the site continuum of Rievaulx Abbey. Programs include: building workshop, indoor performance theatre, outdoor performance spaces, practice halls, artist in residency units, and dormitory.

oblique view of the frame B
coexistence of new order and old presence – the stepped levels between
the refectory and the dining hall is made interior and reconfigured as an
atrium space. The detail shows the new steel/concrete construction and
tamped clay wall that is inserted amongst the ruins, while reinforcing the
structural stability of the ruins.

moving through the frame A
Taking cues from the existing rhythms of window dimensions, the new
structure introduces sequenced planes of frames that arouse a sense of
spatial progression in this multipurpose studio space in the refectory.
Geometry of the original roof structure is echoed in contemporary
construction methods.

oblique view of the frame A
The ritual, performance surrounding the cloister is preserved in its
movement and viewer relationship. – this composite drawing collapses
the two cloisters into one, and the surrounding spaces are revealed as
a single sequence of movement. The rituals of the Cistercian monk is
superimposed with that of the institute users. The detail of the wall in this
drawing shows the proposed tamped clay wall that grows on top of the
ruined walls of the abbey.

moving through the frame B
Frames that compress and decompress, delay and accelerate, reveal and
hide – a darkened volume installed before the outdoor theatre

looking through the frame A
Frames that places the viewer in a spectator or voyeur relationship;
frames that demand performance by this structure of viewer, and the
object behind the frame. – two volumes of residence units and dining
hall looks into the courtyard. The directed visual connections to the
centre, and between the volumes create a visual tension that awaits a

looking through the frame B
Experience of appropriating, capturing, or containing a view through
a frame by alignment – North theatre wing looking into the outdoor
performance space, a junction of multiple framed views that heightens the
sense of interiority