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Abre Etteh and James White




Artist Workspace


artist work space


This proposal combines utopian/participatory and pragmatic modes of architectural experimentation towards the revival of Sutton Scarsdale Hall into a pavilion for postcontemporary curating. The central concept of ‘reverse archaeology’ creatively responds to processes of demolition, decay and gradual disappearance endured by the building’s historic fabric through the centuries. The decaying nature of the building’s fabric serves as a conceptual springboard to challenge notions of artistic and historical production. A set of theoretical and practical parameters are proposed, and a framework is established for reversible physical interventions and flexible spatial and artistic uses to colonise Sutton Scarsdale Hall’s roofless shell. In turn, it is the users’ creative participation within this framework which will allow this language to evolve into an “incessant interface of images and information” – physically as well as conceptually –in this new pavilion of postcontemporary curating.

This proposal advocates the retention of the entirety of the building’s extant historic material, whilst initiating a constructive process of reversible/semi-permanent accumulations/accretions within its shell. The historical value of Sutton Scarsdale Hall is explored within the context of its history of deconstruction. The process of creating/shedding skins becomes a consciously creative one, as the building begins to reclaim ownership of its physical evolution. The building’s new identity is established through its use, as modular accretions become autobiographical statements of the hall's changing relationship with its users. In a process of ‘reverse archaeology’ induced by artistic production, the building begins to gather material once again through user participation. Incremental and semipermanent additions to Sutton Scarsdale’s fabric allow for physical traces of art production to be integrated into the building’s physical constitution.

‘Fabric’ is defined as:
1) artistic surface (e.g. canvas, sculptural matter etc.);
2) building fabric, protecting users – and manifestations of artistic production - from the elements;

TARPAULIN is introduced as a mediating material between the two definitions of fabric, a material which, though it is weatherproof and be applied to scaffolding in a reversible manner, can also be physically assimilated into processes of creative production (including painting, digital projections etc.).
- affordable material, widely available;
- flexible;
- protects from wind and rain;
- can be cut, primed, painted on, sculpted on, projected on etc.

SCAFFOLDING (2.4m module) is brought in as the structural and artistic frame for spatial iterations and micro-interventions within Sutton Scarsdale’s shell.
- temporary and reversible structural system;
- potential for x modular configurations (incl. a box container to house
exhibitions or a large screen for film projections on midsummer nights).
An interplay is set up between fabric and scenarios. Fabric migrates between the realms of production (e.g.: canvas on easel) and shelter (e.g.: walls and parapets).


Migration of materials between scenarios


Migration of materials between scenarios



Scenario A (CANVAS):
- tarpaulin mounted on scaffolding as physical support for artistic
production (to be graffitied on, glued on, projected on etc.).
Scenario B (ENCLOSURE):
- tarpaulin mounted on scaffolding as basic shelter from the


Permutations of scenarios


Permutations of scenarios and material accretions


Outputs of scenario1 feed into scenario 2 as both skin and content, and vice-versa..
Modular micro-colonisations of Sutton Scarsdale’s empty shell allow for these flexible and
reversible scenarios to progress with the rapidly evolving spatial and material requirements
of contemporary curating and artistic production.


Gallery space created


Gallery space created through material accretions


Spatial zoning plan


Spatial zoning plan