Tactile memory: a haptic architectural approach is explored as a way of revitalizing the historic lime works in Olifantsfontein through the process of making ceramic works as an exhibitionist element
This dissertation explores the reactions that architectural experience can elicit, specifically by means of sensory stimulation. William J Mitchell associates sensory stimulation with the recollection of memories (2005:8), which causes an enhanced experience through a layering of different times/moments (the current moment and the remembered time). Time is an important factor in the exploration, and as such the research is focused on sites with layered historical narratives within the South African context. The art history and development of Olifantsfontein in Gauteng recently came to light with the publication of Olifantsfontein Potteries 1907-1962. The potteries were originally started by Cullinan as part of the Consolidated Rand Brick, Pottery and Lime Company (Conrand). Between 1895 and the late 1950’s Conrand was the driving force behind the development of Olifantsfontein. The original site of Conrand has since been subdivided and developed, but the portion that housed the lime works remains undeveloped. Some reminders of the lime works remain on the site, albeit in a state of ruination. These include a lime quarry, a historic lime kiln and a cemetery. The proposed intervention aims to celebrate the history of Olifantsfontein through the development of ceramics studios and galleries on the aforementioned site. The proposed program alludes to the concept of haptic architecture as a stimulus for recollection. The enhancement of architectural experience is further explored by developing the process of ceramic making as an exhibitionist element to showcase the tactile quality of the program. For this purpose the aspects of ceramic making is examined and discussed.