As an Emergency Architecture, I|K studio has chosen Epidemics. The crisis of epidemics is an increasing risk, and the communication of disease is an interesting point of experimentation. The spread of infectious disease can be so pervasive that it moves from a local outbreak to a globally affected pandemic. At such a time when new illnesses are not only becoming more resistant to treatment or mutating to become more virulent, some labs are engineering new diseases for research and warfare.
The practice of physically separating the sick from the healthy has been documented in the isolation of lepers, and was formally established as quarantine – Latin for forty in referring to the number of days to remain aboard an incoming vessel – in Venice to abate the spread of the Plague in the 14th century.
The physical dimensions, and the spatial use, of quarantine are of primary interest in this project for the National Art Museum of China:
What is the maximum and minimum space of separation required for the safe containment of viral or transmittable disease?
What is the cultural space of sociological anxiety for the healthy vis-à-vis the space of alienation for the sick?
Who has the authority of determining the control of quarantine, and what loss of civil liberties and freedoms are at stake in its deployment?
How can we create an environment where critical social constructs of groups, families and communities are maintained?
For the exploration of these questions that determine the social implications of physically and legislatively separating humans from each other based on disease, I|K studio has looked into the use of congruent space and membrane surfaces.