Intermediate 5 Camille Bongard, A Choreographed Timeline: Re-writing the RIBA Building Contracts, Intermediate 5, 2017–18


Ryan Dillon, David Greene

HG Wells, writer and practitioner of free love, wandered into the Royal Observatory at Greenwich in the summer of 1895 and crossed ‘world lines’ with watchmaker John Harrison and his 1714 H1 Sea Clock. Mesmerised by this futuristic contraption, Wells dashed home, dropped his walking stick – spun his bowler hat from his head – and began to hurriedly write. Putting dip pen to paper, he set off on a four-year journey that would see him construct visionary futures (A Time Machine), imagined territories (The Island of Doctor Moreau), extraterrestrial worlds (The War of Worlds) and entire cities (The Sleeper Awakes). A series of writings on equality and a world without borders would sit parallel to these fictions, indicative of Wells’s progressive awareness of a conservative England in need of radical transformation. As Wells would state himself, ‘if the world does not please you, you can change it.’

With this in mind, in Intermediate 5 we will con- struct our own ‘world lines’ – curves that carve out time and space. To do this we will tour the obsolete 1851 Prime Meridian (0°00'05.3101") and the labyrinthine triangulation that is the 1802 Great India Arc (78°00'00"E). These co-linear slices through the city and the countryside unveil a diversity of architectures, infrastructures, cultures and inhabitants at the local scale (London) while expanding outwards towards the rest of England, Europe and at a global scale. These explorations will lead us to discover cartographies, equinoctial sundials, water clocks and hourglasses, providing the social, technological and time-based constraints for each unit project: the construction of an architectural brief tested through a material intervention.

Working with a drawing, a physical model and a lm per term, a series of exercises will provide students with the material to develop the locale, target group, use, duration and key question that aims to challenge the rules, codes and laws that govern our existence allowing Intermediate 5 to bend the fourth dimension in ways that splinter the status quo.


Ryan Dillon (Unit Master of Intermediate 5 since 2013) is a lecturer in the History & Theory programme, Programme Coordinator of the AA DRL, and a member of the Teaching Committee. He has taught at the University of Brighton and previously worked
at Moshe Safdie Architects.

David Greene had an English provincial suburban upbringing before moving to London to begin a nervous, nomadic and twitchy career. From big buildings for developers, T-shirts for Paul Smith, to conceptual speculation for Archigram (founded with Peter Cook), David is, perhaps, provost of the 'Invisible University'.

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