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Canvey Island Project

Part 1 Project 1999
Martin Lewison
Luke Chandresinghe
Bartlett School of Architecture (UCL), UK
The project is a conceptual proposal, developed through initial investigations and experiments. The project is sited on the edge conditions of a partially disused petro–chemical site in Canvey Island, Essex. Siting the project in this location enabled preliminary interests and experiments to be scaled up, making use of the fuel supplies from surrounding petro–chemical industries.

Early work consisted of using flammable materials and combustion to perform miniature experiments, scenarios and the creation of miniature islands. The project became a device to make sense of this earlier work. The introduction of William Shakespeare’s play The Tempest brought narratives and charaterisations into the work. One important character being Prospero, the bookkeeper and magician, who inspired the notion of being able to store things.

The storage of Prospero’s library became know as the ‘depot’, and consists of 108 drawers where objects can be deposited, investigated and taken away. These pits are collective libraries of knowledge, consisting of information on subjects and individual icons such as William Shakespeare and John Dee who had the largest library in Britain in Shakespeare’s day and whom Shakespeare called ‘Prospero’.

At the level of the ground, the garden is dominated by a forest of 180 tall towers which are adaptations of industrial wood burners from North America and Canada. The taller burner ‘Ferdinand’ is paired opposite to its love, the skirted, flirting ‘Miranda’. These Miranda’s and Ferdinand’s are reading rooms where individuals can relax on golden sofas in front of the open wood burning fires.

At night the aluminium pots shimmer and the lake of eternal flames reflect the colourful lights from surrounding burners.

Martin Lewison
Luke Chandresinghe

“What in the end, makes advertisements so superior to criticism? Not what the moving red neon says - but the fiery pool reflecting it in the asphalt.”
Walter Benjamin

Luke is the kind of student we enjoy teaching.He is bright,enthusiastic and has the courage to be experimental, reflect and then act.

The project was developed through initial investigations, site-specific observations and experiments/events loosely based on The Tempest. Suspended between past and future the proposal consists of the design of a depot housing the library and a landscape into which ‘journeys’ can be taken.Where it is easy to observe the contrast between the traditional and the contemporary landscape.

• Page Hits: 1837         • Entry Date: 08 January 1999         • Last Update: 10 May 2001