Sectional Perspective

James Smith

Year 2 Portfolio // James Smith

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Project Threshold // Caving

Joint Project with Thelma Mbewe

In response to the dark, overshadowed site in the mouth of Peak Cavern, the threshold our Cavers Shelter tries to create is rising out of the gloom into bright, airy treetops. Hence we perched our Cavers Retreat on the side of the valley, with the living and sleeping areas within the tree canopy. Storage and washrooms remain underground but all other functions are within light wooden boxes supported on a core rising out of the rock.

Project Library // Video Archive

The brief for this project was to create a place for the Manchester Italian Association [MIA] to store and show their video archive – Roots of the Vine. This archive details the life of the Italian immigrants which made Ancoats known as Little Italy.

This project is rooted in the history of the area, linking back to over 130 years of Italian-Mancunian culture, as well as looking forward to the future – MIA currently don’t have a permanent meeting place, so this library is designed to provide office, meeting and social space for the association, in addition to storing their archive.

The development of the design is derived from the idea of distilling a national identity architecturally – an idea core to the Italian Rationalist movement. This movement was a key part of the design decisions within the project.

The scheme aims to be a hub for the Italian community of Manchester whilst also providing a permanent space for the history of Ancoats to be explored.


Project Housing // Evolution Lifetime Homes

The aim driving this project was to design a group of dwellings that could all have the easy potential to be adapted and expanded to keep up with the changing requirements of the inhabitants. A key part of the scheme is the workshop and courtyard which are a shared resource for cooperation and building community. The workshop enable all the residents to learn together and work together to improve their collective home and their individual dwellings.

Due to the site being bound on three sides by high walls of existing buildings, the dwellings are designed with a void down the back, allowing light to filter down into the living spaces which are arranged around the central courtyard, filling these otherwise potentially gloomy spaces with light.