Collecting Illusion is an architectural design studio that ran for two semesters at RMIT University.
Since the mid-sixties, experimental German filmmaker Werner Nekes has accumulated one of the most comprehensive collections of pre-cinematic media technology. The studio Collecting Illusion took this collection, and the collector that brought it together, as the starting point for the design brief and as a source for the design process and material articulation of the architectural project.
Through a series of workshops and two small-scale projects, students investigated the specificity involved in the act of collecting and its spatial consequences. The studio investigated precedent projects and models for housing collections and collectors such as early cabinets of curiosities (Wunderkammer) and Sir John Soane’s House-Museum.
This studio had a heavy focus on producing architecture through making, documentation and re-making in a cumulative and layered design process. Throughout the semester students worked with a combination of experimental apparatus, physical models, collages, and drawings to derive architecture that draws heavily on the working mechanisms and material qualities of the collection itself.