Memel by Sophie La
[Memel]…a place from which the eye can see far
A speculative project on the civic interior. A strategy for the integration and adaptive reuse of buildings for the future of Memel.
Memel is an island of Sydney Harbour, Australia. The name coming from its indigenous past meaning, ‘a place from which the eye can see far’, but it is no longer known by this name.
The island has seen many defined periods of occupation and development. In varying significance and conditions, the traces of these phases remain as historical evidence in its extant structures, archaeological features and the landscape. The island has served as a quarry, convict stockade, explosives store, stations for police and fire and a boatyard. Today, the island rests unoccupied.
The content of this work is, in itself, an ongoing documentation of an event. It is a perversion of the interior process and what is expected to evolve as the interior defined. A quasi obsession with conservation has resulted with an absence of interior.
From the study of the island’s disused structures, these sites provided an opportunity to explore the potential engagement of the unique spatial and climatic qualities associated with Memel, and to create environments with a highly specific context but with a transient quality.
The drawings show a series of interior architectural installations, which are their own micro-environmental systems based on energies recorded from the coexistence of architecture and participant. Inscriptions of each participant are composed within the interior for momentary experiences, to then become deconstructive ironies of their own form.
The outcome of the work installed in this site today is with significance. It’s a continuation of a distorted process. The work is suspended between its place of origin and its new point of reference: That, being a tension of once valid declaration is challenged by a potential new set of standards, but both being places from which the eye is seeing far.