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Workers' Memorial

Part 1 Project 1999
Suzanne Fowler
Merlinda Song
Mackintosh School of Architecture Glasgow UK
Programme 1.0 Fossil Grove
The brief called for a shelter for fossilised trees sited in a remote area of a Victorian park. The approach was to use the existing terrain and foliage as backdrop, whilst an inhabited wall, derived from the negative space into a positive element creates a sense of protection. The two existing routes: one, as a sheltered exhibition route through the building, the other, as an open circulatory exhibition space.

Programme 2.0: International Interact 1999
Caught in a delicate position, the site is juxtaposed between the fragmentation of the urban fabric and the open tranquillity of the green. The simplicity of the form of the building is a direct solution that suggest a visual barrier to that invasion whilst neutralizing the 2 elements. The screen together with the landmark building across becomes the gateway into the park, which is an icon in itself. The building celebrates the notion of interaction, which is expressed through the translucency of the facades.

Programme 3.0: Workers’ Memorial (Illinois, Chicago, U.S.A.)The governing principles for the design of the memorial was based on Chinese geomancy, fengshui. This approach was adopted after initial inertia in the placement of the ‘object’ in the given vast site. Taking into consideration that America was a melting pot of cultures, the form created was a culmination of the optimism derived form the western notion of the rising phoenix and the Chinese mythology of ‘nai-he-qiao’ or thespiritual bridge that connects people to their after lives. The final product hopefully will inject a sense of hope and happiness for the loved ones of those remembered.

Suzanne Fowler
Merlinda Song


As well as developing and homing her design skills, Merlinda engaged in her own investigation, on her newly acquired laptop, into the expressive potential of computer generated images for her projects. She produced a series of sombre interior views, particularly of the Film Centre in a counterpoint to the more playful potential of the complex sections. The Film Centre appears to turn itself inside out to enliven the public space with a giant projection screen.

The Fossil Grove building combines a glazed 'shed' and an organic wall of secondary accommodation in a patent dialogue with the picturesque park setting.

The Workers' Memorial, set in a park in the Champagne/Urbana area of Illinois almost completely eschews the classic architectural drawing for a group of visual representations of a complex object rising out of the flat Illinois landscape

1999
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