>Michelle Leong

London, UK


The Memory Capsule is a moving building that reacts to coastal erosion. Past, present and future are indicated in the picture as it ascends across the image. The image portraits a happy Hunstanton village atmosphere at first glance but showing some uncanny of the village on the second layer. On the front of the image, Stone Age people climb up to the cliff suggesting the history of the cliff with people enjoying the view at the Cliff promenade. On the contrary, further in the image is where the residential houses located, it displays the anxieties among the community, people start to worry about their properties got to take away by cliff erosion and started to find their way of looking into the memory of the cliff… It is a trip along the memory lane, to the future.

“Memories have a way of trapping one’s notion of the future and placing it in a brittle series of mental prisons. Memory becomes sedentary and sooner or later finds a physical shape (art), and this memory emerges from future time. The “time traveller” as he advances deep into the future discovers a decrease in movement, the mind enters a state of “slow motions” and perceives the gravel and dust of memory on the empty fringes of consciousness.” (Smithson, 1996)

The proposal is inspired by the invisible forces that linked human races – the collective memory. Human and landscape memory are the fundamental layout of the proposal. It will embrace the past, present and future of the Hunstanton Cliff which is experiencing coastal erosion at 0.3-0.4 m/year at present. The Hunstanton Lighthouse (grade 2 listed building) will be falling into the sea in the next 30-40 years if no intervention is carrying out.

While nature declaring its territory, the building will proceed with time, allowing it to move across the landscape following the change of nature using the magnetic levitation track system. 

It is a piece of architecture that sits along the cliff promenade, conserving the Hunstanton Lighthouse with an extension of excavation platform up to the cliff edge and archive sitting away from the cliff edge. Equilibrium system will take existing lighthouse as the pivot point with the lightweight building (excavation platform) and counterweight heavy mass (archive) sitting on the opposite side of the track system. Both ends are connecting by public and private deployable link bridge to allow visitors and researchers to have quality time travelling to their destinations within the building while enjoying the scenic landscape. The proposal is an ultimate piece of memory to Hunstanton – ageing, growing and interacting with time.

Project brief:
(Unit 16, Simon Herron + Jonathan Walker + Andrew Lavelle)

We shall explore further the invisible forces that surround trade. The transactional arrangements and the exchanges of ENERGY fundamental to the notion of trade. This time directing our gaze at the uncertainty of the edge of nation and the rise of historical models for fiscally hawkish trade posts and enclaves. We will focus our studies at the EDGES OF EMPIRE, coastal towns where CLIMATE CHANGE, coastal erosion, and disenfrancised communities are facing uncertainty and decommision. A shifting landscape of opportunity and prospect.