2014 Inception Award | Sofia Radak

Silence Of Space by Sofia Radak from AUT

This project looks at the importance of light and shadow within a space and how this can determine what is being hidden or seen whilst creating a dramatic mood. This is explored through a now defunct railway lobby, Auckland Railway Station, in the heart of Auckland. Constructed in 1928, the railway station once a busy city connection point, is now student accommodation. Through the use of this vacant lobby I aimed to question how these factors conceptually influence the mood and atmosphere of a space.

German cultural theorist, Siegfried Kracauer (1889-1966) suggests, in his work ‘the Hotel Lobby’, that the lobby is a place that displaces people from the outside world, an odd transitional space that borders both private and public spaces.1 As equally, architectural historian Sarah Treadwell writes in ‘The Motel: An Image of Elsewhere’ that artist Edward Hopper uses light to cut a strong divider between exterior, object and interior.2

The transitional space of the Auckland Railway Station lobby, with its classical details and coffered ceiling, became an experimental arena for testing the play of light and shadow. Reducing the scale of the lobby permitted a shifting of large masonry walls, constructing characters and enabling the recording of the passing of time. The resulting work is a short film of lurking shadows, marking the passing of time and mimicking past bodies that once inhabited this space.

The harsh shadows suggest an airy and uncomfortable silence. The old Auckland Railway station and its ornate lobby, a ghost of broken shadows, activated through a lurking darkness that slithers across floors as they become the characters of this structure. These slow shifting bodies of shadows dominate the space as they haunt the lobby. Once a welcoming area full of bustling bodies has now become an abandoned space. Silence and shadows are all that inhabit this melancholic lobby.

2 Treadwell, S. (2005). The Motel: An image of Elsewhere. Space and Culture, 8(2), 214 – 224

1 Kracauer, S. (1997). The Hotel Lobby. In N. Leach (Ed.), Rethinking Architecture: A Reader in Cultural Theory (pp. 51-62). New York: Routledge: Taylor & Francis Group.