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Christ Church Hostel

Part 1 Project 2000
Richard Marks
University of Brighton UK
My response to the brief’s title, ‘urban oasis’, was to try to create something that deliberately opposed itself to its immediate context. The hostel proposes a communal, semi autonomous existence for its residents, in the middle of an area dominated by trading floors, offices and the rest of the machinery of the financial world.
The ideal of the scheme is that it is able to reject the commercial principles by which the city around it is so tightly governed. Residents should not have to pay for their stay in the accustomed way, but may instead work in recompense for their accommodation. Visitors may help in the running of the hostel, work in the gardens, or help in the ongoing construction of the building. In this way, the hostel has the ability to grow, to adapt to changes in its environment and, conversely, to provoke those changes.
Several themes run through the project, at different scales of intervention. Long term, the project has a strong agenda of urban repair, as it attempts to heal scars in the city inflicted during the war, and emphasised by the excesses of more recent vehicle biased planning. At the same time, the necessity is there to consider all the most traditionally mundane aspects of building, to find new ways to solve old problems, to allow ourselves to adapt to life in an increasingly isolated planet.

Richard Marks

Richard’s work is a powerful demonstration that an agenda of environmental sustainability can be successfully applied to the shaping of a city‘s centre; that thinking holistically as a total strategy, from long term site planning to immediate issues of material and construction offers new possibilities for genuine meaningful urban regeneration.

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