I’m gonna start by saying: 3rd year is intense! No matter how many people warn you about how hard 3rd year is, you just keep saying they’re over-exaggerating …until it’s you that’s living it.
I remember being mean about 3rd year students not having a building design somewhere in the last month of the project. Well…safe to say I’m almost in the same position (alongside almost all the people I know doing this course). This is not because we’ve been lazy or proper party animals. It probably has to do with the constant changes that we need to bring to our proposed designs and ideas.
However, I can finally attest that the chapter of the book called ‘Calina’s Final Year Project’ (3rd, not 5th year guys, just to be clear), that analyses the concept, the site, and the adherent society HAS BEEN FINALISED (… I think/ hope).
As I have mentioned a long time ago in one of my posts, the main topic of the studio is ‘fractured cities’. My interpretation of this topic is somehow twisted, yet it stands proudly and clearly in front of our eyes on a day to day basis.
I don’t know where you guys grew up, but where I’m from the urban layout of a city is simple and clear. Explanation: if you were to draw a section through the city, going through the suburbs on both sides of the city centre, you would find yourself looking at the outline of a triangle: the verticality of the city relatively resembles a triangle, taller in the middle and slightly decreasing towards the suburbs (-i’m talking about building heights here, not the geographical aspect of a settlement).
However, in England I came across an interesting aspect that contradicted this belief, which came to me while traveling by train to different places, visiting different friends, or just rushing to the airport (and yep I have had many unpleasant, but funny, experiences with trains/ planes/ buses, which I will probably talk about in one of my posts if I ever want to demonstrate how truly clumsy I am). So, I can’t even count the number of times I thought I was on the wrong train because the one I was on didn’t stop in – what I thought- was the part of the city I was supposed to get off at. This was because, the urban verticality – which I was talking about above – did not follow the pattern that I was used to. The cities became somehow fractured, each neighbourhood having it’s own ‘big city centre’ and it’s own suburbs, leaving the impression that I have left the city without stopping at any train stations within.
When I have started researching this phenomenon, the appropriate literature pointed it’s finger at good old Industrial Revolution. Therefore, cities that have bloomed during industrial times and that have developed into powerful industrial centres, were forced to quickly adapt to new needs, after the Industrial Revolution, in order to maintain their status. The dynamics of this movement forced a fast expansion of new developments beyond what were then the outskirts of the city, filled with warehouses, factories and plants.
Therefore today, cities such as Leeds do not comply to the ‘triangular’ typography of a cities’ elevation. Here, the city core is wrapped in a layer of mostly misused spaces, filled with old warehouses.
The aim of my proposal shall therefore be to amend this fracture between the old industrial city, and the city developed beyond.
The site of the venue is one appropriate for what this building represents: a catalyst between two worlds: a forgotten one on which the new one has been built. It stands at the border between the city centre, the industrial repository of the city, and the academic quarter- which Leeds is so proud of!
Right, I have just realised how long this post has become, so I’ll be mysterious and leave the debate about the architectural language of the building, and finally, it’s function; for a future post.
If interested, you can check out a more visual representation of what I’ve tried to explain here on Behance at: www.behance.net/calimanisor.