This final project brings together connectivity, landscape and programme. The architecture is situated at Hammersmith, London and the brief was to design a theatre and two river interchange terminals.
Urban Connectivity (London’s Sustainable Transport Systems) and Programme (Theatre)
With these themes, it is important to highlight the symbiotic relationship they have and how it correlates with my final project.
In our capital, London’s West End district has a high accumulation of theatres, the proximity of these theatres is so important because they produce a cultural area that is built up to represent a national theatre planned zone. Within this district are bus stops, underground stations and riverboat terminals – this is where connectivity begins to act its role because they become systems which aid Londoners and visitors of the city with mobility between each theatre. Pairing both themes together they produce a sustainable area of cultural engagement and a way to interpret this is like a symbiotic relationship in which both benefits culturally and economically.
Urban Landscape (Gardens)
A user’s journey is embedded in the architecture, the urban landscape is important because this is how I set up that narrative. It feeds in with urban connectivity because located on the site are two bus stops which are a representation of London’s transport system. From the moment users arrive at either stop via bus, these beautiful gardens (fig 1.) become magnets and are useful in promoting familiarity as people move through the landscape and ultimately end their journey as they enter the theatre.
How my proposal adhered to multiple principles and concepts to generate one harmonious architecture
Principle One: Celebratory Entrance – This principle was introduced in my term one project and was further developed during a precedent study into Sigurd Lewerentz’s Malmo Cemetery. As there are other buildings in my proposal, when it came to the theatre there had to be a certain approach to monumentality. I gave distinction to the theatre by making it elevated and having two staircases that were perpendicular to each other at the ground floor. Users move through this sea of plants and trees and are greeted to this theatre embedded in a garden and starting from this little square the two stairs create at the bottom; users are gently elevated into the building as they ascend the stairs. (fig 5.)
Principle Two: Tranquil setting generated by trees and plants – Gardens are seen frequently as a method of using nature to appease people’s moods.
UN Sustainable Development Goal 12 – As a Studio 13 student, it was a requirement to demonstrate through the project my awareness of material consumption globally and the accompanying extraction rate that is accelerating. Portland stone was generally used for not only the theatre and North Bank river terminal but the other fragments that are a part of the architecture too (garden follies seen along the journey and South Bank river terminal). Stone is a low embodied energy material because the quarrying and processing stages are not very energy-intensive and essentially entails extraction, cutting, finishes and transportation to site.
Concept One: One Harmonious Architecture – This concept was picked up during a precedent study into the Fosun Foundation Arts Centre. I have multiple buildings located on the site and if I wanted to generate this narrative where people move around the landscape, I knew that familiarity was an important element to have. As a solution, the architecture was tied together with the use of arches and stone as a material for each building to successfully create cohesion in the architecture.
Concept Two: High Permeability at ground floor – The entire ground floor/landscape of my proposal is for pedestrians and residents of Hammersmith. I followed a concept of having a less dense base which would allow people to effortlessly flow through the ground floor. Consequently, it generates a public realm.
Concept Three: Journey – The users’ experience at an urban level was a personal aspiration that I worked on to get people to the theatre. From the moment users arrive at either bus stops I wanted to instantly create a visual “magnet”. Again, this was where cohesiveness in the architecture was rewarded. As the user arrives at the first garden (fig 2.), the second one is already visible from the distance, the stone arches make it immediately noticeable that the buildings are synonymous in some way. Whilst the user is in the second garden (fig 3.) they see the last garden in the distance which finally leads them to the theatre entrance.