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Devonshire Green Secondary School

Part 2 Project 2001
Stella Pieri
University of Sheffield Sheffield UK
The project departs from an attempt to unveil what usually remains 'unaccountable for' and to invent a creative process necesary to reach new conclusions about the city of Sheffield. The mission is to map part of the psychological quality of the urban structure and identify a site for intervention.

The design project is produced as a reaction to the systematic destruction of the cognitive fabric of the city of Sheffield and an exploration of the issues of ‘civic surveillance’ and ‘public situational avoidance’ in the program of a secondary school for the education and therapy of juvenile drug abusers.

The metaphor of weaving becomes an activity of constructing fragments and defining common points of reference between objects and perceptions.

The proposed building is weaved in the fabric of the city's surveyed spaces by specific architectural decisions that establish connectivity between particular activities and locations (cross-programing). The configuration of the building's plan and synthesis of the border allow the infiltration of the gaze of the public inside the building and encourage the guardian look of the ‘inhabitants’ of the school to move over the park (trans-programing).

To autocratic impersonal CCTV surveillance the architect juxtaposes ‘openness’ and transparency of school and rehab processes. Instead of segregation-isolation of activities and people, the design of the school seeks the containment of all variables involved in the spatial event.

Stella Pieri


This student's project to unveil "what remains unaccountable for" in the city, identified the parts of the city that need the architects intervention. Using a combination of consultation with the local residents and the police, psycho-geographic techniques and architectural theory she wove her own interpretation of the places of avoidance and surveillance. This was then applied to an ambitious re-appraisal of two key building types in the area - the school and the drug re-habilitation centre and looked at how a physical built relationship could build up between the two.

The project was strong from the first theoretical underpinnings of the project to the detailed close observation of lighting and security and how they could be played out in the life of a “school”. The student's greatest accomplishment was achieving a project that solved problems at both an urban and a social level with an elegant architectural solution and some inspired re-thinking of the problems.

2001
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