Sophie Tarbuck

Multi Stories Exhibition

Based on a study of multi-story concrete car parks built during the sixties and seventies, this collection of work explores the relationships between art, design and architecture. Taking car parks designed during this period as a reference point, the work investigates concrete public structures, with particular interest in the abstract spaces of their forms: examining symmetry, repetition and geometric harmony, construction, shape, composition, framework and pattern. Each piece is the interpretation of a detailed study deconstructing an individual multi-story car park.

The multi-story concrete car park represents a time when advances in the technology of reinforced concrete, together with a rapidly expanding traffic infrastructure, brought architectural innovation on a grand scale. Concrete allowed the architect greater freedom to explore new sculptural forms. Never before had any other material allowed such dramatic use of space.



However, these buildings are now disappearing from view. With three of the four buildings studied being condemned for demolition, Sophie Tarbuck found herself necessarily involved in a debate about the nature and future of these buildings – and it became important to reference this in the work. As the aesthetics of these buildings were interpreted, the selection of subject and the use of processes became more and more important in commenting on wider issues around this debate.

Through a series of studies deconstructing architectural subjects – Debenhams Car Park in London, Preston Bus Station in Lancashire, High Cross Car Park in Truro and Trinity Square Car Park in Gateshead – Tarbuck focused on contemporary interpretations of these buildings. The aim was to explore what it means for a building to be a relic of past innovations today (in terms of construction as well as function) and to celebrate examples of a time when art, design and architecture seemed to cross over effortlessly.
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