Sketch perspective scale 1/200
The Pavillion of Postcontemporary Curating (PPC), failing to exist without location or form, adopts the interloping characteristics of the hermit crab in order to survive. The discarded exo-skeletal remains of Sutton Scarsdale Hall offer the promise of shelter. Through this inhabitation, the exhibition centre adopts a new and strange identity, a chimera of two genetically dissimilar creatures, one living and one dead.
A permanently installed beam crane lifts prefabricated building modules from a lorry into the roofless grid of walls that constitute Sutton Scarsdale Hall. The pods sit within the ruined masonry walls, carefully scaled to leave a respectful gap between the new insertions and the existing archeology. In this way, the evocative quality of the ruin is preserved and a strict differentiation between the new and the old is always made apparent.
The pods are stacked two or possibly three storeys high. Bridges, stairs and lifts are also craned in, connecting the pods and forming circulation routes. Existing openings in the masonry are used wherever possible, and these largely dictate the path of the new routes. The use of pre fabricated pods combined with the permanent installation of a crane allows the PPC to grow, change and adapt in a way that is eminently suitable for showcasing cutting edge exhibition curation. The pods are temporary, removable and interchangable, allowing a range of spatial configurations to be considered. Black box, top lit white cube, transparent display case, single and double height are just some of the options. Exhibitions involving a completely specific sequence and quality of spaces can be designed, manufactured off site, and then craned into position, only to be removed again in preparation for the next show.
The culmination of this strategy of exhibition would involve artists and curators re imagining the contained artwork and the container spaces as one entity, designing bespoke, walk through and immersive environments, based on (but not limited by) the module of the pre fab pods.
Another advantage of prefabrication is the ability to locate the vast majority of their construction in a factory at some distance from the Hall. Chesterfield is the obvious location. When pods built to house specific artwork are replaced with those facilitating the new seasons exhibition, the necessary construction work can take place largely off site. This strategy will significantly reduce disruption to public access when exhibitions are changed.
The beam crane is an addition to the exterior form of the Hall, both demonstrating the mechanical functioning of the PPC and contibuting to its 'chimera' aesthetic. If so wished, the crane can travel along its tracks to a siding secluded by a copse of mature trees. Alternatively it can be brought out beyond the front of the hall and be used as the fly tower for an outdoor stage using the neo classical facade as a backdrop - perfect for opera!
Lastly, the project ensures the preservation of Sutton Scarsdale Hall through a strategy of continued monitoring and targeted conservation of the ruin in its present condition. The permanent provision of a crane on site allows this to happen by providing a travelling raised platform from which conservators can work on the upper levels of the building. We feel this is the right future for the Hall. The asset stripping of 1919 removed any hope of its return to grandious domestic status, and the quality that must be retained for future enjoyment is that of an evocative and melancholic ruin.