Our proposal for the 5th Festival of Lively Architecture is a delineation of the space where new and old embrace through an architecture éphémère to produce a profound contemplation of the moment between shadow and light. This moment is offered to the visitors and natives of Montpellier as a chance to perceive the space between historic and contemporary architecture that simultaneously redefines and gives a greater sense of identity to both. These identities are reconstructed and reinvigorated through contrasting materials and form; a subtle web weaving the new and the old, the shadow and the light, in a prototype of the passage of time.
Our proposal sweeps the interior surfaces of the courtyard with a canopy of flowing, metal wires assembled to create a three-dimensional virtual web. It takes inspiration from the geometry and cultural symbology of webs found in nature. In one moment the web intends to penetrate the petrified scene, dragging the heavy, frozen time of the past up to the light and dynamic time of the present in a material contrast of stone primitives and metallic meshes. In another, however, it challenges perception of the old so that architecture can begin to question the assumption of history. It allows one to ask how can such a historic place be encrusted by something that, although new, is evocative of something that usually forms in places time but not nature has forgot?
Our project will enable a virtual cultural tour of Montpellier, where contemplation of this passage is a marvelous mental recreation of the past. The old is not simply old, it’s meaningful, evocative, and reminiscent, and the new is a catalyst, giving vivacity to what was before. Less about changing exactly what or how someone contemplates history, our Web of Perception will create something that gives reason to pause, to question, to stand in the beautiful space between new and old.