Dance and Architecture / five_six_seven_eight

explorations into the parallels between dance and architecture

location:  Bubny, Prague, Czech Republic
date:  spring 2013
course:  Master’s Thesis
institution:  Chalmers University of Technology
tutors:  Ana Betancour, Carl Johan Vesterlund
censor:  Kris Scheerlinck

Thesis summary:
The point of departure for this thesis is the relationship between two most advanced fields of spatial organisation – dance and architecture. Both disciplines have very much in common. Architecture is a process of organising and articulating space experienced by a human body over time. Dance is a structured movement of the human body over time. Any choreographic piece is an architectural structure and any dancer is a body of geometric forms or architectural elements. Bodies can occupy space but also act as spatial generators.

This thesis investigates the relationships and parallels between these two disciplines in a series of four explorations. The main focus was put on means of incorporating knowledge from dance into architecture, unfolding spatial dimensions through dance, visualising dance using spatial language and seeing a building as a choreographic object. The first exploration involved the notion of kinesphere, the imaginary volume of all potential movement of a body, which was summed up in a sculpture for Chalmers campus. Second investigation was about means of reconstructing dance without dancers being present. Third study dealt with translating spatial traces created by dance into architectural elements and therefore freezing them in time and storing.

The fourth exploration/proposal is located in Prague, the capital city of Czech Republic, in the railway brownfield area “Bubny” near the city centre. The brownfield is a huge urban and cultural void with no character forming a major barrier within the city fabric. Dance organisation principles were used to activate this vast post-industrial area through various programs putting emphasis on one pioneer program – creative-commons-cluster. This program acts as a cue-giver for the entire site informing and influencing the rest of it on the urban scale.

The creative-commons-cluster sits inside a derelict train warehouse on the site. The idea was to create a variety of spaces for the network of creative actors that are freely adaptable to the actual situation – private, shared within the community and mostly public area stretching from the outside into the building. The architectural language of the proposal is based on points and lines in space as well as occupation and subdivision of space created by human bodies.