The Summer Solstice was reflected as early as 3500BC from Stonehenge. Stonehenge represents a reflection of solstices that reflect shadow and light from an array of stones. Stonehenge reflects the constellations and the zodiacs in the sky. My intangible heritage is a protected site.
Suggesting a hybrid tower develops the opportunity to explore the potential of a specific rural urbanism within the Ashdown Forest. An existing precedent urban landscape defines the real constraints for a proposed tower that, with respect to the rules set by Stonehenge, must consider the shadow it casts. In this case onto the city context during extreme sun angles, the solstices. An undifferentiated tower casts an unconstrained and non contextually affected shadow upon the new site, a rural urbanscape. The intention is to explore the use of material from the new site to alter the form and therefore the performance of the new tower in direct response and potentially in synthesis with the new site.
The sandstone that makes up the substrate of the site, is not uniform, and offers potential as a device to re-imagine the tower. With this construction system and a more closely observed context, there is potential to explore shadow and light as mediated by the tower in an attempt to have a positive impact on the landscape with the possibility of creating new spaces. Uneven and non-uniform void spaces will generate performance for a specific programme. And this programme will generate a way of exploring the benefits, or not, of inhabiting the landscape more intensively. The central exploration is whether there can be a reciprocal benefit for community and landscape based on the exploitation of a local material and for construction, while respecting the context, through understanding the analemma and its relationship to a tall building.
The Ashdown Forest terrain mainly consists of lowland heath, an ancient substrate that contributes to the health of vegetation and rare species of plants. Currently 20% of this substrate in the whole world is located in the UK (80% destroyed since the 1800s) and hence has been put on the biodiversity action plan to regenerate the substrate. The threat of overgrowing and afforestation requires a new solution. The Ashdown Forest common birch tree poses a threat to this. The hybrid tower can help regenerate this ancient land by using this as an envelope.
The proposed site sits below the bottom of Blackhill where the land topography rises 120m towards the top of the hill. This would allow for the tower to blend in with its surroundings.