"Landfall: The Other Shore"
Designer(s): Justine Bell, United Kingdom
Category: , Student
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Justine’s recent work examines cities and buildings as cultural artifacts that are continually undergoing transitions. During her first year, with a brief of ‘The Recovery of The Real’, the unit traveled to her hometown of Cape Town. There she became interested in investigating potential architectural and urban forms that could begin to dissolve the heavily bordered and segregatory conditions of the post apartheid city, and that would reflect the inter-subjectivities of its mixed and developing contemporary culture. She developed methods of utilizing historical and anthropological research to represent multiple perspectives through drawing, and then turning these into a creative dialogue that uncovers spatial possibilities.
In Landfall: The Other SHore year she continued this research, and developed spatial and drawn techniques that would allow more in depth explorations of architectural and urban possibilities, and finally result in a building proposal. With a field trip to Rio de Janeiro, another post-colony, and a truly hybrid city, she looked towards the postcolonial theories of hybridity and literary theories of dialogism to provide clues for new design processes and methodologies. Rigorous historical and anthropological research accessed through specific protagonists provided the foundation for a new public architecture of multiplicity. She wasinterested in how historic, and imagined built forms co-existed with the new, and how they contributed to an imminence of meaning that could be felt by the users. She looked at the creative potential of the liminal and transitional, as well as the encounter with the other or foreign, and one’s a-priori. The specificity of Brazil’s modernism, which was essentially hybrid in its referencing of the past, became an architectural precedent.
The resulting architecture was an architecture of arrival and transition. The programme an international immigration centre sited on the post alluvial landscape of a catastrophic flood. This program questions the nature and importance of borders, both physical and imagined, it mimics the transitional and dialogic nature of culture, and highlights the importance of difference. It references 18th century ship building, as a metaphor for the migration and incorporation of many foreign cultures; and how they contributed to the current contemporary culture of Brazil. The voyage, and spatiality of these vessels, inspire large scale cavernous interiors. The importance of arrival and encounter is articulated by spatial and programmatic adjacencies that appear foreign at first glance, but do indeed inspire new experiential possibilities. The buildings location with the existing urban fabric, and modernist landfill questions previous historic and modernist urban development, as well as becoming a catalyst for new non discriminatory urban development.
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