A series of folios presenting design research by staff at The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL
2EmmaToc/Writtle Calling : Matthew Butcher; Melissa Appleton;
2EmmaToc/Writtle Calling
by Matthew Butcher and Melissa Appleton

2EmmaToc/Writtle Calling is a design project sited in the Essex landscape during September 2012, which developed its research propositions through design-led processes, as well as certain curatorial methodologies. It was comprised of a temporary radio station, a building structure and a curated broadcast programme. The project provided a platform for broadcasts by artists and practitioners engaged in a range of subjects that related to the historical, contemporary and future use of the site.

The project was sited in the grounds of Writtle College, Essex, near the site of the first regular public radio broadcasts by Marconi Engineers in 1922. Transmitting under the call sign '2EmmaToc', the original station broadcast live performances every Tuesday evening from an ex-army hut in the fields around Writtle. Performers and musicians of the day travelled to the site to broadcast live. The project sought to resonate with, as well as highlight, the history of the site and the physical characteristics of the landscape. By using this context creatively and experimentally seeks to generate a complex layering of history, architecture, landscape, inhabitation and event.

Operating as a radio station and performance space, the project explored architecture as an open frame, formed as much by the building as by the weather, inhabitation, performance, radio waves and the Essex landscape, where the edge of the architecture is not defined entirely by the edges of the wooden and scaffold platform, but is extended by the invisible landscape of electromagnetic radio waves.

Its cross-disciplinary performative and installation-based practice existed between art, architecture and curatorial practice. The project is an example of how architecture can engage with local communities, and operate as a generator for public engagement and cultural production in a broader sense. The broadcasts were transmitted on a local FM bandwidth to a local Chelmsford/Essex area of approximately 10-mile radius, and streamed live online, where an archive of broadcasts is also available.