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Generic Desires

Part 2 Project 2002
John Badman
Alison Wood
University of Westminster, UK
This project has intended to juxtapose, through architecture, the desires of a dockworker with the retraining of the unemployed. The approach to the project has been a social investigation into the desires and dreams of the working class.

The project scenario is the automation of Royal Portbury Dock, the largest dock in Europe, resulting in 5000 redundant workers while giving one of the employees the opportunity to live in a beautiful, opulent dwelling, so that the Port can still legally trade. The approach to the project has been a social investigation into the desires and dreams of the working class, continually counteracting with the retraining of those made redundant. The narrative follows the last remaining dockworker, Bill, through the process of selection to inhabiting the designed dwelling. The design process has been pure and deliberate interpretation of working class desires. Research into cheap holidays, lottery winners and Beckingham Palace developed the design of the dwelling as a stage set, using cheap materials to give the idea of opulence. The site is incorporated using views out over the iconic Portbury landscape, with its cranes and conveyer belts, cars and ships, as a base to build on for the development of views from certain spaces within Bills world that would be expected in the dreamed scenarios. The result is a large, cheap shed that envelops the dwellers contrived opulent world, broken up by accurately control viewing tunnels and light tunnels. The void of the stage set world is given back to the council for the use of retraining and reskilling those made redundant.

John Badman
Alison Wood

John has been nominated for this award for the range and depth of his architectural abilities. John’s project, based on a narrative of a dockworker and his relationship to changing work environments is a compelling and cautionary essay on contemporary values. His work demonstrates that it is possible to translate a poetic interpretation of society into a series of programmatic, formal, detailed and contextual responses that demand refined architectural skills. His work is described through particular drawing and representational modes that are appropriate for his ideas.

Students in this studio are asked to make architecture from an understanding and analysis of the cheap mass produced object.

Studio 9 students are asked to develop a strain of interests within this theme by developing a "Material Path" . Material path can be described as the journey of an object from its manufacture to destruction (and beyond). In physical terms this path is created by identifying a series of portals or thresholds through which an product will pass. This might defined as the injection mould, a customs clearance, or a front door etc. This threshold is identified by the manner in which it changes the objects status .

Over the year student were asked to identify and redesign this threshold at different scales from the minute to the massive. This process is initiated by analysing products bought at the Under-a-Pound ("Around a Pound" "Poundland"). Within these objects lie the lessons of manufacture, language, management and technology that are eventually reconsidered in architectural terms.

This series of threshold culminates in a final proposal for Portbury Royal Dock entitled the "The Gate (Ware)House" . Students are asked to design a massive cheap shed and a small expensive house that controls the import export of products. In each the constuction and language of these building incorporate the analysis of manufacturing processes while the programme is developed around a particular stage of the "Material Path".

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