Deep Mapping and Site Reading in Valley Gardens

In order to get to grips with a large site for a new project third year interior architecture students undertook some ‘deep mapping’ activities.

Working in teams, students undertook 5 of the following activities on the valley gardens site to enable a ‘reading’ of its current inhabitation.

  1. Play a group game
  2. Eat a meal
  3. Make contact with and document 10 different species
  4. Attend an event
  5. Harvest materials and make a totem
  6. Seek signs – translate / re-read / re-work / re-configure / re-mix / re-make / re-late
  7. Visit Valley Gardens at unusual times such as very early morning and late at night
  8. Meet and talk to people in the area
  9. Identify patterns, geometry, desire lines, etc
  10. Schedule of solicited and unsolicited activities

They recorded / documented / communicated / expressed their findings each day using creative and ‘diverse’ media methods e.g stop-frame, tweet, GIF, tilt shift, GIS, Wiki-map, sketch, VINE, morfo, interview, diorama, mapping, surveying, collecting objects, classifying / identifying and counting objects / people / activities. You can see examples of the students work on tumblr here.

From this research students invented and played a game to further enhance their understanding of the site. These included versions of  ‘wide games’ often played by the Scouts and Guides, and more sophisticated outside activities such as Geocaching or urban golf. Their games had to be clearly described with written rules and illustrations so the rules could be passed on to another group. Each group played their own game and another randomly chosen from another group. 

Their findings will help to inform their design work for the rest of the term.