between presence and absence

Erasure is never merely a matter of making things disappear: there is always some detritus strewn about in the aftermath, some bruising to the surface from which word or image has been removed, some reminder of the violence done to make the world look new again. Whether rubbed away, crossed out or reinscribed, the rejected entity has a habit of returning, ghostlike: if only in the marks that usurp its place and attest to its passing.

Brian Dillon, The Revelation of Erasure

It is with this idea of Erasure that diploma3 began the year. A way of working that gives value to the process of subtraction, or re-working –allowing room for history and process to be in evidence with the present; a way of working that allows for all the ambiguity and complexity of a place to coexist with a new situation. Our interests this year also included critical investigations into how we live and a questioning of the inessential, provoking architectural responses that suggest an economy of means and an applied ingenuity towards new simpler forms of living.Early in the first term the unit travelled to the south of France, to study, measure and listen to three Cistercian abbeys: Le Thoronet, Senanques, and Silvacane. Known together as the 3 Sisters, these 12th Century abbeys are remarkable in their strict allegiance to the Cistercian virtues of austerity, simplicity and beauty. Built from the local hard limestone, these buildings are exquisitely crafted, and remain a physical testimony to the Order’s ideologies.The context for our investigations in the second half of the year was the historic city of Arles and the coastal city of Port St. Louis du Rhone. These two sites on the edge of the Camargue, a significant wetland in Europe, are also adjacent to Fos-sur-Mer, amongst the largest industrial complexes on the Mediterranean. It is here, in this landscape of contrast, that the unit proposed ideas of transitional living and an architecture of authenticity, stillness and ghosts.

Project Briefs:

The Revelation of Erasure
The Revelation of Erasure, part II
Three Sisters
Three Sisters, part II
A Man Asleep
100 Rooms


Colin Boylan
Isaac Cobo i Displas
Deon Fourie
Fanny Galvan
Toby Hart
Makiko Ito
Tonia Lazaki
Raphael Lee
Naoya Mayuzumi
Shizuka Mori
Bernardo Mota
James Ross
Paul Snell
Naofumi Takaoka
Kiyoaki Takeda
Katerina Tragas
Kristina Triantafillou
Mark Zudini