Joseph Coulter

  • 2020
  • Architecture and Landscape Architecture
  • Architecture - MArch

Joseph Coulter: (Un)doing Thresholds; Door / Ways to New Neapolitan Practice(s)

Joseph Coulter
(Un)doing Thresholds; Door / Ways to New Neapolitan Practice(s)

What do you want people to know about your graduation project?

(Un)doing Thresholds explores the porous conditions, temporalities and architectonic specificities of Naples, a place in which processes of “undoing” are - following Andrew Benjamin - understood to be vital to the formation of the city as constructive practices. The project explores this ‘undoing’ as a means of making architecture. Techniques for constructing drawings allow urban thresholds to be (un)done, drawn through one another in a constructive overwriting of form and function based on the immediacy of the city. The result is a series of multiple, porous spaces created through drawing, but situated and developed through the city. Rather than imposing fixities upon space, these porous spaces develop as architectures of ruin, labyrinth and theatre - as described by Graeme Gilloch’s reading of Walter Benjamin and Asja Lacis’ Naples - in which thresholds become programmatically labyrinthine, theatrical or ruinous, or materially or spatially open, exhibiting how the interpenetration of these archetypes might form porous architectural conditions and spaces.
 

What or who is your inspiration and why is following this route important to you?

During my time of study with ESALA, I wanted my practice to reflect that of a suitability and authenticity to endure the real pressures and demands made by the profession outside academia. I wanted to use the opportunity of extended study through the masters programme to further my individual practice by putting ongoing working processes and methodologies back under the interrogation of the MArch design studios.

Through the modular pathway, my study has yielded design theses for projects in Palermo & Naples and, through the ‘City Fragments’ studio, the continuity of an enquiry that has a concern for working with the existing fabric of the city in both a social and material sense has been allowed to continue to mature. These theses have cultivated modes of practice that whilst, intrinsically Sicilian or Neapolitan in each case, have asked questions about and caused a self-reflection on my practice that has been invaluable for my development on the way to becoming an architect. They forced a heavy, but healthy emphasis on the ‘process(es)’ through which architectures come into being and ‘how’ and ‘why’ they do, as much as the ‘final’ proposals with which they conclude.

Joseph Coulter, (Un)doing Thresholds; Door _ Ways to New Neapolitan Practice(s)
Joseph Coulter
(Un)doing Thresholds; Door _ Ways to New Neapolitan Practice(s)
Joseph Coulter, (Un)doing Thresholds; Door _ Ways to New Neapolitan Practice(s)
Joseph Coulter
(Un)doing Thresholds; Door / Ways to New Neapolitan Practice(s)

What has been your favourite thing about ECA? And Edinburgh?

The notion of ‘process’ is something that I seek to place a strong emphasis on, not only within my studio practice, but also with research into furthering an understanding of ‘how’ and ‘why’ we design in the way(s) we do. The design studios at ESALA actively promote means of making as a tool for developing architecture and such an emphasis on the installation and exhibition of our architecture at a human scale. With support from the technicians in the workshops within the school, this soon became one of the most satisfying aspects of the programme. Being pushed to communicate a thesis and its inherent design proposals beyond the conventional means of representation gave the work across the studios another dimension of authenticity and complexity that far exceeded any expectations I could have had going into the course.
 

What are your hopes for life after ECA? Do you have any plans?

I see it essential moving out of study and back into practice to maintain a strong focus on this ‘how’ and ‘why’ I might undertake future projects and challenges in a way that ensures there is an ongoing concern for dealing with ‘real’ problems and providing them with ‘real’ and ‘authentic’ solutions. Having previous studied and worked in Devon and Cornwall, working on bespoke residential schemes in rural context, I am keen to take up a similar role in a London-based practice that would give me the opportunity to continue to exercise an enthusiasm for how the finer details of architecture(s) for the everyday come together in a more urban environment.

 

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