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"999" facility Marylebone.

Part 1 Project 2000
Tony Burke
University of Liverpool, UK
Combining the Police with the Fire and Ambulance services into one building brings the problem of an institutional (architectural) identity. Problematic due to the multitude of ways in which the public perceives the police, from benevolent protectors to authoritarian oppressors. In response to this i attempted to design a building that was impartial by neither reinforcing nor reducing particular qualities associated with or desired be the three services. Considering any representation to be best judged by the quality of service provided to all sections of society and not by architecture or public relations exercises.

The design exploits the constraints of the deep excavated site and consists of a glazed building that uses the opaque, translucent and reflective qualities of glass to create an ephemeral and ambiguous surface that encloses the internal space. The closed nature of the building is in contrast to the training platform that flows in to the building. The concrete "platform" allows for a transparency of the emergency services' roles by bringing their training into the public realm and gaze.

Conflicting with the prettified pastiche and demographic context of the site the form, program and materials of the scheme responds by reacting contrary to the current plans and attempts to return Marylebone to the village it briefly once was.

Tony Burke

The project '999' facility required a high level of both design and intellectual skills from students and Burke mastered these skills with remarkable independence. Apart from the resolution of the breifs complex program, the scheme is based on a highly political and social agenda and analytically acknowledges the brief's integral problems concerning shared facilities for the three services.

A training yard for the riot police in a wealthy neighbourhood of London was the starting point of the design, questioning the ways in which the police force is accountable to all sections of society. The project tries on the one hand to provide an impartial building for all three services (the box) and on the other to visualise the services' activities (the platform). Investigating the problem of the representation of institutional identity in architecture the project questions the consensus between society and the police. The responsibilities of the architect towards society and the complexities in this relationship are being investigated.

The project was developed in the manner of a fifth year thesis project and driven by Burke. Research included studying texts by Georg Simmel and Ludwig Hilbersheimer, the results of which were being carefully fed into the project.

Burke has shown a high level of understanding of the implications of architectural decision-making both in spatial and representational terms.

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