The Architect Superstar Presents the Archipelago Cinema

Project Description

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The Architect Superstar Presents the Archipelago Cinema

by Caroline Lever, Jul, 2012[View PDF]

German-born, Beijing-based Ole Scheeren is one of architecture’s brightest stars. Over the past decade, his work in Asia, from the Prada Epicenters to the iconic CCTV Tower in Beijing, has captured the zeitgeist of a continent at a time of rapid shift. Earlier this year, his firm Buro Ole Scheeren unveiled the Archipelago Cinema at the inaugural Film on the Rocks festival, curated this year by Tilda Swinton and Apichatpong Weerasethakul. Surrounded by towering limestone rocks in a lagoon near the Thai island of Yao Noi, the Archipelago Cinema might be the most spectacular cinema in world.

What excites you about being in Asia?

Asia in general, and maybe China in particular, poses a very explicit question about the future. The future really plays a role both in the society but also in architecture. It’s a context that is interested in new possibilities and prototypes.

Was the Archipelago Cinema very different from your other commissions?

There is a certain concern that is present throughout my work, but obviously the cinema is very different context, and in building terms, a relatively small and simple structure. Also, to work in that breathtaking nature; it was really about an intuitive fantasy that I wanted to create for the audience.

It’s an astonishing proposal. How did you first conceive of it?

After I went to the lagoon, I thought ‘We really need to put the audience onto the water,’ and the only way that we could do that would be if we were both imaginative and pragmatic. So I found a particular construction technique that local fisherman use and I basically adapted it using the same materials, the same principles to construct this set of rafts that is the Archipelago Cinema. You feel the movement of the tides and hear the echo of these rocks surrounding you and I think this remains key to what we are doing-to stay connected to a sense of reality.