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Ethnographic Museum

Part 2 Project 2000
Phil Smith
De Montfort University Leicester UK
Ethnographic museum

I believe that any building, on any site, should share a synergistic relationship between that site and its program: a combination of historical, environmental, and geographical analysis confronted with the specifics of functional requirements to form an overriding concept.
A disused industrial location on the outskirts of Nottingham City Centre was picked for the site. This location gave an excellent duality to the project: on the dividing line between city and suburbs, it echoes the duality which runs throughout the history of the city: the twin Norman and Saxon centres. This duality was taken throughout the project in the division of the building, with one part housing the local collection and the other the global collection. In an effort to also contextualise the exhibits, the local collection galleries face the old centre with glimpses of the ancient church, whilst the global collection galleries face the new industrial ground.
The specific planning and architectural forms of the museum are a continuation of the site and its evolution into architectural form throughout history. From the first Saxon settlers, the site was divided into distinctive strips through field cultivation which evolved over time into very long thin streets and narrow back-to-back terraced housing. This millenium of natural progression was eradicated in the 1930's when the council implemented its slum clearance program. The museum reinstates these characteristic forms in a bid to regenerate this whole urban area by giving it back its identity.

Phil Smith

This project was set for the first semester of the final year of the Graduate Diploma in Architecture. It is seen as the single most important project for establishing Part 2 competence. Called the 'Global Design Project', it is always set as a building with a standard set of brief criteria, irrespective of location, e.g. an art gallery, a museum, or a conference centre. The student is required to select a site, which may be anywhere in the world. the student must then design for the particular environment which has been chosen. The student must demonstrate that the construction is feasible and economical for the location, and must also demonstrate that the design is environmentally sound.

In this instance, the student has chosen a UK site. This design was particularly impressive for the way in which it integrated internal complexity with an appropriate, contextually sensitive envelope. Environmental control and construction were particularly impressive.

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