Hyde architects
Adain Avion – A Proposal: ‘The collective memory of the city’

© Warren Orchard

Hyde + Hyde Architects are delighted to have been invited to participate in Adain Avion: ‘Artist taking the lead’ project, Cultural Olympiad 2012.

As the following cleverly choreographed Video explains; “Adain Avion, Incorporates the body of a DC9 airplane, transformed into a mobile art space. A social sculpture that comes to life in response to the transitory passengers that occupies it.

As part of the London 2012 Olympiad it will migrate across Wales nesting in specifically chosen towns and cities. Arriving on site pulled by sports people, members of the community and led by a marching band. Contemporary dance and visual artists will collaborate with local groups and a diverse programme of interventions and actions will be generated; curated by Marc Rees one of Wales leading exponents of contemporary performance.

All activities will be documented by the planes black box recorder and revealed at the National Eisteddfod in the Vale of Glamorgan to deposit the black box as a contemporary folk archive. An eclectic collective memory, a snapshot of the uniqueness of Wales directly connecting to the heartbeat of the London Olympics 2012”.

The Adain Avion website explains; “interventions and actions will be created that reflects the distinctive history and culture of the area”.

Plane elevation

Our Proposal

“One can say that the city itself is the collective memory of its people and like memory it is associated with objects and places. The city is the locus of this collective memory”. 1

Our practice will proudly take up residence in the DC9 fuselage once it has come to a rest outside the National Waterfront Museum in the City of Swansea, June 2012.

Our aim is to create a temporary exhibition that will focus on the neglected historic structures of the industrial revolution found within the city. Through a series of architectural interventions, we will propose new creative solutions that aim to bring these abandoned ‘artefacts’ back into use, – rejuvenating the ‘collective memory of the city’.

To put it simply –Stitching old and new to heal our urban realm in ways that benefit the city, socially, culturally and economically.

Themes of past and present will be explored through the medium of digital photography and physical model making of two identified locations.

Plane door detail @ Warren Orchard


These forgotten elements within the city can be seen as historic urban artifacts. They help us understand what is unique about this place or that place. They help make us feel at home in our surroundings by being familiar. They also remind us that something happened here or there a long time ago.

On a deeper level they also talk about the men that built them. The toil and the effort put in to make them. The jarring realisation that these people have long gone reveals the fleeting nature of our existence. The tremendous range of human emotion is alive and contained within the ruins that surround us.

All this is talk about ‘oldness’ is of course inevitable. Through the passage of time things naturally become old and this adds value because these elements become imbued with meaning, in that they were present when certain events or things happened around them. They become our physical anchors and reference points in time.

These forgotten structures, buildings, bridges etc, have come to offer far more than just nostalgia and subconsciously contribute to the identity of our cities. The exhibition will allow these artifacts to become reborn as catalysts for future regeneration. Each carefully chosen site will respond to different and varying needs of the cities inhabitants and will be built on the embodied energy of past generations.

We would like our time in Adain Avion to be used as a powerful reminder of what can be achieved by conversing with the existing built fabric, as we witness around us the slow erosion of the unique and the individual places within our cities. Which has occurred through neglect or more often through the hegemony of the capitalist project, with its unrelenting output of bland urban development’s and empty ‘nowhere spaces’ that lack any deep poetic relationship to time and place.

The city of Swansea as many others like it possess many unique remnants of the industrial revolution that are currently sleeping… We hope to bring these to life again for a brief moment to show what can be possible.

Kristian Alexander Hyde

1 Aldo Rossi, The Architecture of the City, P130.
Photography: Warren Orchard