The Triptych: Void, Spacetime & Beyond

Julia Crowe

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Hand Drawing of ]Annunciation Triptych (Mérode Altarpiece)' in Plan

The origin of the word Triptych is Greek, meaning three plates. Triptych's definition today is a set of three panels. Usually hinged to the central panel are two smaller winged panels, that enclose the altarpiece by folding to protect it.  Historically, the triptych design was intended to be transported and displayed, traditionally as an altarpiece in religious settings or private devotion.

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Hand Drawing in Plan View of "Annunciation Triptych (Mérode Altarpiece)"
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Workshop of Robert Campin, Annunciation Triptych (Mérode Altarpiece), made in Tournai, South Netherlands. Oil on oak, (64.5 x 117.8 cm), ca 1427-1432.

Foundational religious triptych, Annunciation Triptych (Mérode Altarpiece), motivated the endeavour to broaden contemporary architectural exploration of spacetime relationships in architecture. Pertaining to the images relating to each other through triptych, the alternative reimagining of the traditional linear understanding of time, space, and history presented itself. Triptych's potential is demonstrated and tested through architectural research by investigating the early Flemish Renaissance painting, Annunciation Triptych (Mérode Altarpiece), created in Tournai 1425, by the workshop of Robert Campin.

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"Annunciation Triptych (Mérode Altarpiece)" Rotational Geometries & Void Spaces Series

The purpose of exploration is the physical and spatial manifestation of temporal coinciding narratives of the triptych. The inquiry conducted conceptualises how triptych can create freedom of association, allowing parallel stories to occur of indefinite relational proportions. The framework exploring the potential of triptych includes a critical analysis of the triptych's role as a design methodology in contemporary orthogonal architectural drawing. The inquiry to investigate religious triptychs through an architectural lens uses literary research, collage, drawing, watercolour, and model making as analytical tools. 

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Hand Drawing in Plan View of "The Devil Presenting St Augustine with the Book of Vices."
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Michael Pacher, The Devil Presenting St Augustine with the Book of Vices, 1471-1475 on wood, Munich, Alte Pinakothek.

Research conducted contributes to an architectural discourse by proposing an alternative reimagining of speculative temporal and spacetime narratives within a miscellaneous architectural setting, integrating a diverse spectrum of perspectives. The motivation is an expedition of integrating various views towards advocacy and a legacy of an imagined future.

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Rotating Geometries of Alternative Narratives at Varying Degrees.
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