During the past year I have undertaken two projects, a small day hospital in the tight medieval grain of the Bairro Alto, Lisbon and an arts foundation on a large post industrial site in Dalry, Edinburgh. Although different in context, content and scale, I have approached both through an intuitive process based on their individual contexts and programs. In my dissertation studied the work at The Open City, Ritoque, Chile, which strengthened my belief that architecture is an artistic, intuitive process governed by continual rediscovering and experimentation and not a discipline of fixed facts and rules.
Day Hospital, Bairro Alto, Lisbon, Portugal
Lying on the edge of a series of large institutional buildings where the urban crumble of the Bairro Alto begins, I attempted to address the transitional nature of the site. The building moves from rigidity to soft, rich curves across the site. The highly serviced, more clinical aspect, relating to the adjacent convent, whilst the personal aspects break down in a series of curved decorated screens, echoing the fragmented, tiled buildings across the narrow street, the two parts united by the central circulation and waiting areas.
Demarco European Art Foundation, Dalry, Edinburgh
A foundation for the archives of the avant guarde art promoter and watercolorist Richard Demarco. The following, written following an urban study of Dalry and two meetings with Richard Demarco, form the essence of the project.
The archive and the library are the anchor of the building, the solid monolith that will last for over one hundred years. Around them the rest of the foundation will grow and evolve feeding off the wealth of experiences documented within. Just as Joseph Beuy’s oak grows around the basalt rock or an ancient tower house evolves into a stately home, or a castle spawns a town. Activities can be added and removed from the foundation but the solid core remains. The gateway for many journeys. An inspirational landscape. The building must act as two bridges, one between scholars and understanding, the other between scholars and the public. The site, the old Caledonian distillery. Layers of history, a landscape of found objects, solid and temporary. Its chimney reaching for the sky, the railway leading to the world.
Chris was an important member of my Degree year unit at the School of Architecture, Edinburgh College of Art from October 1997 to June 1998. To say he participated fully and effectively in the work of the unit would be an understatement and would not begin to engage with the very particular and focused intellect Chris brought to bear in all aspects of his work.
The study tour to Lisbon opened possibilities for him in the subsequent design of a healthcare facility and this first project characterised Chris's achievement: an instant grasp of a complex range of contextual issues in the broadest sense; a distillation of a set of working hypotheses; the generation of a range of design options; a clear view of the most appropriate and poetic option with regard to its programmatic and architectonic possibilities and the development of consistent detail design. Chris's final project, the Demarco European Art Foundation in Edinburgh was a tour-de force in this respect and, as with all his work was represented by exquisite, engaging and highly communicative drawings and models.
Chris's written work exhibited similar characteristics and ranged from the poetic to the strictly informative in a consistently lively and entertaining style.
Chris was a joy to teach. He was consistently ahead of the game with an enormous appetite for work and a clear passion for architecture which he exhibited at all times with an endearing lack of self-
I commend him to you. Roger Emmerson
Unit Tutor, Architecture 4 1997-98