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Market Grounds And Community Centre In North Woolwich

Part 2 Project 2001
Ansula Adithiya
Kingston University, UK
In an area of such poverty and social deprivation as North Woolwich, my project aims to create a public place for the community to find a voice. At present the local people suffer from lack of education and training and access to the information revolution. My proposal aims to encourage a site where people could express themselves effectively.

My design comprises two parts:
The lower level or ground plane is a series of infastructural elements of horizontal and vertical concrete pieces which establish territories and portion out the space into sites for structured and spontaneous events. A market place made up of various grounds, some covered, some not, allow the market to occur on various levels. The grounds are seen in succession or as a whole within which the various aspects of commerce and trade can occur as a car boot sale, a fruit and veg market, a fete, festivals and also external rooms for more or less organised play. As a gateway to Victoria Park, the scheme includes accomodation for changing facilities for sports to allow the soft landcsape to be used for recreation and team games, football, cricket, etc. Childcare is provided in a creche which is designed as a walled garden with external play space. The construction of this space from repetition of concrete walls establishes a degree of ambiguity between internal and external rooms. This tension is highlighted by the proposal to line certain spaces with timber. This soft surface allows children to play and marks out zones of space in the park which have a semi-domestic quality of inhabitation. Conversely, other internal concrete spaces would feel municipal and external and 'public'.
The tension between inside and out is further exaggerated as a distinction between the ground as external space and the major public room, the forum, as a suspended structure. At first floor level the public hall for the community centre is made as a bridge. This element spans the heavy concrete 'ground works' of the lower terraces and makes the lower space appear as excavated ground. The timber bridge structure creates an open plan space which is generous and free of internal divisions. I.T. training as well as public meetings, receptions and dramatic events can be accommodated within. Whilst being a different order of construction to the lower levels and clearly expressesd as an autonomous unit, the community hall can be opened to the elements. It also establishes a zone of space below itself which is at once a portico to the park as well as a semi-inhabitable zone for trading, gossiping, etc.
The general strategy of my project entails the creation of spaces for social mixing, communication and exchange. In this way a notable and recognisable place can be established which is nonetheless open to participation and interpretation; it is a time-place and sees people as the other to architectural form.

Ansula Adithiya

Ansula's project begun with study of a fruit market across the river from her site in North Woolwich East London. Victoria Park .....

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