Astronomical Observatory // Project Threshold
Peak district, a landscape of dreams, crafted by nature into a scheme of contrasts. The focus constantly changing by the alternating slopes. Destination, “Burbage edge”, a cliff that rewards you at first sight. The serene landscape surrounding it, a deception, once its depths are observed from the cliff top. The bottom a vision of violence full of sharp edges so intense that the earth shuttering force causing the rocks to collapse can almost be visualized. The edge a naturally defined threshold condition between the vertical drop to chaos and the flat planes of order.
Kita observatory is a landscape and astronomical observatory lying gently on the rocks of ‘’Burbage edge’’. It is named after the Greek word ’Kita’, a prompt to look and observe as both in landscape observation and in astronomy the random views often reveal great mysteries of the universe. The natural threshold was chosen as the position of the structure as it could facilitate the design aspirations of enhancing and intensifying the experiences of the many thresholds on site. Chaos and order, earth and sky, day and night. These were resolved by either creating unexpected views of the sky or framing opposite views of landscape to create a direct realisation of the contradiction and by mimicking astronomical phenomena like the phases of the moon and the starry sky through light play.
Black light and Shadow Theatre // Project Perform
Darnall, one of the most deprived areas in Sheffield, a rude awaking, a crash landing to reality. Dilapidated buildings, a cacophony of garish signs, of people of various ethnicities going about their own business with no obvious connection between them. A place in desperate need of a bonding mechanism that could facilitate inter-culture socializing, identifying and emphasising the things that connect people, nurturing the feeling of community and eradicating racism. A focal point to celebrate its character, its colourfulness and its diversity of cultures. Theatres are known to have been the catalysts in the regeneration of areas. Shadow theatre is chosen as research has revealed that it is one of the oldest types of performances present and accepted in most cultures. Its subject the faceless body form, a perfect vehicle to convey the message that underneath the titles attached to people by society to discriminate, there is the common denominator of our humanity.
The Darnall blackbox and shadow theatre, is conceived with the dual role of a space of performance as well as a community centre. Designed with a semi-transparent façade it creates an active frontage to the neighborhood where life and motion are filtered both from the street to the theatre visitors as well as from inside the theatre to the public on the street. This two way open exchange is key to its success as it narrates its community character of a place by the people for the people. The dark louvers of the facade create an ever changing visual spectacle as new perspectives are generated when seen from different angles. The shadow play theme is engaged throughout the building, whereas the energy and vividness of the colours used in the blackbox performances are showcased at night when the façade is lit.