by LIM Qian Ping Annabelle
Everest is critiqued as an extreme subject of the Wunderkammer, reconstructed through three protagonists—the Climber, the Sherpa, and the Refugee. The Wunderkammer’s outcomes encompass the atmospheric, the iconic, the mythical and the mundane. Its epistemology is by nature multiple and contradictory, specific and enlarging, and thus, tests the limits and efficacy of architectural representation. As an object, the Wunderkammer embodies architecture in its most compressed and powerful form: a design intervention with no building in sight, but a series of different drawing genres, diorama models and a spatial curation that re-averts the viewer’s experience through a designer’s (my) remote journey of Everest.
The architectural Wunderkammer negotiates and reinterprets the ways one views the landscape of Everest through altering the spatial perception of the viewer using the toolset of an Architect: drawings, diorama models, spatial setup, and the curation of the viewer’s experience. Here, the architect introduces a curated experience of contradictions and relationships encompassing the atmosphere, rather than an addition or alteration to the mountain – a better interpretation of the protagonist’s spatial perception in the context they were placed in. Hence, when the fragments of the Wunderkammer are pieced together as one, they reveal the existence of spaces, objects, forces, and truths seen differently by the three protagonists that humans would otherwise never be able to perceive on a trip to Everest.
The Wunderkammer of the architect’s remote journey on Everest from the eyes of the Climber, Sherpa, and Refugee shows a contested yet shared mountain that holds three different meanings to each of the protagonists.
Tutor's Notes // The Wunderkammer, or the cabinet of curiosities, has long held architecture’s fascination, primarily because of its tangibility, nearness, and speculative intrigue. Annabelle’s thesis is a Wunderkammer for the iconic Mount Everest, a peak she hopes to scale one day. It investigates the potentials and limitations of architectural representation to enfold facets, fascinations and stories of the Everest experience, exploring these through three overlapping but contradictory perspectives. The Everest Wunderkammer is a conceptual and epistemological device to stage an affective experience of this divided mountain. The thesis also expands architecture’s ability to communicate, from afar, an ephemeral, atmospheric and vast landscape.