For those of us who listened to cassette tapes, seeing them evokes a hint of nostalgia and brings back a lot of memories. It is based on this premise that Emmett McNamara, an architecture student at Edinburgh College of Art, built his temporary structure out of tapes. McNamara collected over 7,000 tapes to erect Tapehouse as a way of exploring material reuse and a way to create a deeper connection with viewers. If you took the time to fully explore the tape structure, looking at all the band names would sure be a fun trip down memory lane.
McNamara collected the tapes from friends’ old collections, charity shops and a tape dealer in Manchester. 7,200 tapes were organized and arranged according to color and maybe even to some extent by genre. Wire and zip ties hold the cassettes together to form the side panels of the structure, which were then attached to a frame of discarded scaffolding. Strips of tapes hang across the top to create a semi shaded space on the interior, although it seems as if there is no door to get inside anyways.
Tapehouse was completed during the summer of 2010 during end of year celebrations at the art college. McNamara worked on the project as a way to explore reuse of an abundant waste material that we have little use for anymore. He also wanted to build something that evoked emotional memory attachment as a way of getting us to fall in love with materials. By using a material that has sentimental value we can move beyond the monetary value and see the inherent value.
McNamara expands, “I remember making mix tapes for girls I liked. The first album I bought was a tape. When someone sees a tape they perceive it in these terms. The associated cognitive imagery is part of a deeper emotional part of us. I believe this is in contrast to how we engage and connect with the idea of the re use of materials. It is thought of in more practical terms. I hope to associate the two through architecture.”
Photos ©Sebb Hathaway