Smoke Trails


We have proposed five potential ‘short-lived curiosities’ that use AIR as their primary material interest. Each of these proposed ‘curiosities’ are written for a diagrammatic courtyard typology, where each proposal will evolve relative to the minutia and challenges posed by a specific courtyard.

Each ‘curiosity’ describes a cyclic process and a collection of objects which exist in a continual state of becoming. There is no final form, no origin, only a condition of evolution from one from to the next.

Each visit to the courtyards provide an opportunity to discover something which will provide a novel and challenging opposition to the traditional understanding of this architectural typology.

‘Five Curiosities’: Curiosity One : Smoke Trails

The limits of architectural constructs are often finite and rigid, promising a difference between two territories. Courtyards are unique. They produce a space that is semipermeable, where a heavy door, gate, bridge, or portal mediates the limits of fortification. But what are the limits of the unmediated opening of courtyard to sky? How far does the air-volume of the courtyard extend into the surrounding atmosphere? Who owns this material? Can one posses this material, or is it only a matter of perception?


Where an airplane is commissioned to produce a “drawing” of the courtyard “shape” with smoke at an specific altitude (determined by factors listed in full proposal below) at given periods over the period of one day. Phenomenally extending and questioning the limits of the courtyard and architectural space — a beacon, a curious form in the sky that shifts and mutates from its original engaging the entire city.

Smoke Trails (Competition Submission for the Festival of Architecture Vivant, Montpellier, France)
Collaborator: Laura Coombs