Thursday, 31 October 2013

Storytelling: The Dressing up Box

Interim reviews have come and gone already, meaning we are half way through the project and there is only 5 weeks to go!
These are some of the pieces that I presented at Tuesday's interim.

The brief and programme of my project is centered around a market place of clothing exchange. This theme came from my initial studies of the Great Gatsby book, where I started drawing 1920s illustrations and playing with the varying textures of different fabrics to create a reading room.
The focal point of my building is essentially a large dressing up box, which links in with the theme of storytelling and fabric. This large dressing up box is also the circulation for the buildings. It's about 3 storeys high and just about pokes over the edge of the hill. There are lots of clothes and props stored inside. It drives the purpose of my building, because during the market place people come and exchange clothes, source reclaimed clothes and all unwanted and donated items go into the dressing up box.
There are also workshops in the building, which provide sewing classes to the community and school groups. This links the building back to the demolished warehouse that was on the site which belonged to the Hebden Bridge Cord Company, who sold high class tweed and cord clothing. It's interesting that these days sewing is not a skill that is taught anymore, it seems to be reserved just for those who want to become fashion designers, even though it is quite an ancient skill.
Nevertheless, the community and the in house seamstresses would take the unwanted clothes and fabric from the dressing up box and create costumes and props for plays and theatre productions that would take place. Theatre groups would come and perform as well as storytellers, who would use these clothes and props to aid them in their storytelling.

This diagram layered on my site model shows my site analysis and the circulation on the site. It is situated on the banks of a river and it is the first thing you see as you cross the Old Bridge coming in from town. There is a row of residential housing to the left and the site curves round to follow a path up to the village of Heptonstall. The site also rests against a 9m stone wall, where there is a hill and woodland on top. Across the river are a few commercial buildings and a car park. The site is predominately south facing with little shade, and has quite a busy pedestrian and car route alongside it.

This is one of my initial concept models, showing the massing of the different interior spaces, with the dressing up box circulation as the solid core of the building.
The entrance to the building is from the side of the curve on the site and the circulation on the ground floor is sort of a loop. The theatre is also designed to be quite an informal space so the market can flow into it during the day. The library and reading rooms are on the second floor, alongside the second floor of the workshop. On the last floor, as you enter through the dressing up box you walk into what is essentially an expansion of it, as there isn't enough space in the dressing up box itself. It becomes this crazy prop room that is also a cafe, and people can exit from the top into the woodland area without having to travel all the way back down the stairs.
This comes from the idea of a 1970s cartoon character called 'Mr Benn', who walked into a fancy dress shop and is told to put on a costume by the shopkeeper who then points him in the direction of a magical door, and when he comes out the other end, he finds himself in a very different world, one that belongs to the costume he is currently wearing. So in this way, I am contrasting the ordered marketplace on the ground floor, to the chaotic prop and costume cafe on the top floor.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

More site analysis

Map of Typologies in Hebden and surrounding buildings to the site

Map of the Natural Acoustics in the Area

Monday, 21 October 2013

Thematic history analysis: Hebden Cord Company

Having chosen our sites in Hebden Bridge, we were asked to do a personal site response under one of the given themes. I chose to follow up on the history of the site, on which a building was just recently demolished. Looking deeper into the history, it turns out that the building actually belonged to the famous Hebden Cord Company who had been on the site with a shop and warehouse for over 70 years. They specialised in producing high class outdoor clothing, and also cycling gear. Rumour has it that they supplied the wardrobes of many noble gentry back in the day. My analysis involved telling the history of the site through a timeline with diagrams depicting the different stages of the company, ending with the demolition and the council's proposed plans for the space.

 fun day out on site

very poetic of Hebden Bridge

clear example of the split level housing

the chosen site....

Sunday, 20 October 2013

The Great Gatsby reading room concept

My concept for the brief to design a 'reading space' for the project started with my drawings of the 1920s people. Using ink and water to capture the way their clothes flowed and were tailored. This naturally led me to explore form through material, way of tailoring, pleating, folding and experimenting with materials that had an elastic quality. I decided on creating a room/space that would be raised above all the activity going on downstairs. It represent's Gatsby's constraints in his mind about trying to repeat the past, him living in this delusional world thinking he can do so. This is shown by the elasticity of the material wrapped around the room as if trying to contain the storyteller and the listener. The space focuses down to one point, so if you are the listener you only just about fit in the space while the reader can stand anywhere comfortably. This also shows how the material is wasting space and constraining the area when there is plenty of room left, which is reflecting Gatsby's decadence and ego. There are also quotes in the book where Gatsby is peering out a very high up room in his mansion house, watching people coming and going like moths attracted to light. This led me to create the space into a secret room, isolated above, while there are people dancing and socialising below in contrast. By using lace, a rather delicate yet decadent material, I explored how light filters through and how shadows are created. When the story is being read, there would be constantly changing lights coming from above, so at different parts of the story, the shadow angles and colour of the light would change.

Concept models progression

Final model

Monday, 7 October 2013

"The rock of the world was founded securely on a fairy's wing"

The second part of our project was revealed to us this week. Our task in relation to the title ' Narrative Spaces', was to select a book/ fairytale/poem , for which to base our conceptual design of the project on. We are going to explore how the written or spoken word can inform architectural space, and how the space can enhance the experience for the listener. Based not only on the fact that I have three copies of this book, 'the Great Gatsby', has been one of my favourite books ever since I studied it for A-level 3 years ago. The book is a beautifully written tragedy, Gatsby, the romantic hero pining for the lost love of his past. I love the poetic rhythm in which the book is narrated, as well as Fitzgerald's vivid descriptions of the decadence of the roaring 1920s in Jazz Age America. 
With this end mind, we have been asked to design an intimate space in which the story of our chosen book can be read to a few people, referring to narratives or symbolism in the text. My first brain storming ideas lead to me drawing illustrations of people from the 1920s. I guess this was more of just a fun drawing activity, but these got me thinking about the way people inhabit space and who the storyteller in my design will be, and I will include them as the contextual people in my later work. I used pen to draw out the outline, and coloured them in using black ink. I then scanned the images into photoshop and adding the skin and furniture colour. This is the first time I've ever drawn anything like this and it came as quite as surprise to see how much I enjoyed it!

" I began to like New York, the racy, adventurous feel of it at night and the satisfaction that the constant flicker of men and women and machines gives to the restless eye. I liked to walk up fifth avenue and pick out romantic women from the crowd and imagine in a few minutes I was going to enter their lives, and how no one would ever know or disapprove... Again at eight o'clock, when the darkness of the forties were fire deep with throbbing taxi cabs, bound for the theatre district, I felt a sinking in my heart. Forms leaned together in the taxis as they waited, and voices sang, and there was laughter from unheard jokes, and lighted cigarettes outlined unintelligible gestures inside" The Great Gatsby

all images drawn by me

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Site Analysis Day 3

This our group's map of Hebden Bridge, that Bart spent today finishing off, using Digimaps and Illustrator. It colour codes the different typologies, as well as showing the road, canal and river networks through the town and surrounding villages. 

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Site Analysis Day 2

Today was spent sorting out all the information and photos that we had gathered yesterday. I started by categorizing the different housing typologies as part of our assigned task and then the afternoon creating a map that showed the areas where the Millstone Grit stone was quarried from.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

The start of THIRD YEAR

The start of the third and final year has been a daunting yet very exciting experience, especially with our site visit today to a market town in West Yorkshire called Hebden Bridge. The theme of my group's project is 'Narrative Spaces', but the tutors have revealed very little about the actual design project. This quote on top of our hand out today suggests it is something to do with story telling, memories and imagination.

"A need to tell and hear stories is essential to the species of Homo Sapiens- second in necessity apparently after nourishment and before love and shelter. Millions survive without love or home, almost none in silence; the opposite of silence leads quickly to narrative and the sound of story is the dominant sound of our lives, from the small accounts of our day's events to the last incommunicable constraints of psychopaths" (Reynolds Price, 1978)

Having lunch in the town centre

Walking along the canal

Today's site visit consisted of us starting the site analysis and exploring Hebden Bridge, which sits in a valley surrounded by steeply sloped hills. My group started to look at the typology of the town, including the vernacular, form, materials and technology. One of the most interesting things about the architecture in Hebden Bridge is the typology of the houses which is unique to the town, called the 'over and under' houses, as a local resident called it today or the 'split level system'. In the 1700s, they built houses 2 storeys high on a slope facing the main street and behind attached to it they built 4 storeys facing the garden street on the lower level, with the two houses being attached back to back. History says, that the lower entrance houses were more prone to flooding from the nearby canals and received the less light and were therefore more likely to be owned by the poorer population. It was a really interesting day, especially when we trekked up a huge hill to get to a village called Heptonstall where we stumbled upon the grave of Sylvia Plath, which was a nice bonus for all the literary lovers in our group!

Houses built on the steep slopes

2 storey terraced houses perpendicular to the canal

A mill factory situated on the canal

An example of the split level system,  4 storeys on the back and 2 on the front