Ruta Dumciute

Crumbling Utopia

Material study dwelling on disrepair as a language.

In this study, an analogy is drawn between concrete – the main structural element of Balfron Tower – and metal. Material honesty and strength unite both elements in an architectural symbiosis. The main parallel between concrete and metals is the fact that both materials are readily altered by corrosion. Metal corrodes in an aesthetically diverse manner – more so than many other materials. Reinforced steel in concrete structures corrodes with time, causing deterioration of concrete. Such decay illustrates an economics of non-maintence – it takes more cost and effort to prevent the natural course of corrosion, than to encourage it with chemicals. Chemical alterations of metals occur constantly, in many commonplace situations.

In these tests, I experimented with the corrosion process of various metals. The same chemical compounds used to alter the metals are then fed back into concrete mix, usually resulting in unexpected material outcome. Decay has proven to have an aesthetic outcome, varying from other-worldly patina to disease ridden surfaces.

Royal College of Art, 2014
Photography Pete Davies