P1: Threshold | Falcon hacking centre
The brief for this project was concerned with the notion of threshold, and how architecture can respond to this. I was tasked with designing a Falconry centre situated on the Limb Brook, at the edge of the peak district. This stream historically represented the boundary between the Anglo-saxon kingdoms of Northumbria and Mercia. Therefore, for me it became extremely important that this historical threshold impacted my architectural moves. I decided upon designing a rare bird of prey hacking and rehabilitation centre; where injured birds or abandoned eggs could be taken and trained to be self sufficient, in order to be reintroduced to local ecosystems.
From this, the significance of crossing the historical border, and of the birds passing through each stage of their training became intrinsically linked within my project.The process of ‘Hacking’ is a method of training Birds of prey to hunt for themselves with minimal human contact, so they don’t learn to become reliant on their trainers. This required me to explore a single directionality in the visual relationship between the humans and birds. The humans had to be able to monitor the birds, without the animals knowing they were there. This idea drove the separation of the centre into two buildings; the office/ observation space, and the incubation room; with the partition wall between them becoming extremely significant in expressing the interior process. The main motivation for the linear form of the building group was in the metaphorical expression of breaking boundaries, of creating easy passage to ‘the other side’; an important concept relating to the easing of a rehabilitation process. By orientating adjacent to the Limb brook, this metaphorical approach also followed through to the physical crossing of threshold, with the architecture projecting a path across the brook towards the Hacking boxes that adolescent birds would be trained in.
P2: Community theatre | Theatre of the Oppressed
Located in Darnall; a small Suburb on the outskirts of Sheffield, my second project describes a small community theatre within a racially diverse community. Darnall high street is dominated by independent retailers, providing a key problem in designing any sort of leisure facility for the area; to be inclusive and collective. My solution to this problem was to focus on a strand of theatre known as the ‘Theatre of the Oppressed’, in which a single workshop leader leads discussions and actions within the audience. the ‘audience’ and ‘actors’ are not exclusive terms, Workshop leaders have no influence on the outcome of a performance; that is completely dictated by the actions of the ‘spect-actors’.
My aspirations for this project were to translate this inclusivity to an environment for performance, seeking to move away from the standard model of escapism that typical theatres embrace. I wanted to maintain the connection with context throughout the building, with Darnall as the backdrop for performances. For this reason, the theatre is composed of 3 workshop spaces at the rear, which connect to the street through a vast bar space. I also attempted to maintain a tactility in material that is so characteristic of the area, but composing the building as a dramatic break from the street front, confirming its places as a social centre point for Darnall.