The brief for this paired project prescribed the design of a shelter for cavers in the Peak District. An initial dissection of the activity of caving and the post-caving rituals that entail formed a key pillar guiding our design . An exploration of the natural landscape with regard to the notions of threshold and territory provided inspiration for the form of this shelter – resembling the undulating hills and valleys of the site through the use of pitched roofs and subtle level changes. The shelter accommodates 8 and includes a wash-down, dry store, kitchen and living space. “The journey through each space was intended to emulate the caving experience; with transitions between light and dark; openness and confinement”.
“Reinterpreting the library of the 21st century”. This project involved the design of a library relevant in this age and time in an urban quarter of Manchester with a ‘front of house’ that forms a threshold between the street and the ethereal world of the library; alongside the design of an urban facade that responds to the local street condition. A library that performs a social function in bringing people together and that fosters a sense of place and belonging within a wider community is one that has the potential to sustain itself. Bearing this in mind, this design was aimed at creating a safe space where one may gain access to information technology which may otherwise be inaccessible due to financial circumstances – a space which is a focal point for gatherings in Manchester’s Northern Quarter.
The phrase ‘Almaladh al-amn’ is Arabic for the term safe haven which succinctly sums up the theme of this housing project. This scheme focuses on Syrian refugees in response to the pressing issues faced by refugee families settling into a new home in a foreign land. It is aimed at providing a comfortable and safe environment to live and integrate with the local community alongside establishing economic stability. Essentially, the scheme is based on a skills exchange programme in which refugees teach trades they are skilled in to local residents who teach English in return; allowing for a smooth transition into their new lives in the UK. The scheme comprises 6 houses of 3 typologies arranged along a central street which rises in a series of steps and staircases; culminating in a shared prayer space. Each dwelling incorporates a shop front and workshop space which can be converted into a language teaching centre in one unit. Shared courtyards provide a more private outdoor space in contrast to the central public street.