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Residence and Market in Hoxton Square

Part 2 Project 2002
Katerina Pertselaki
Kingston University Kingston-Upon-Thames UK

Between movement and stillness, openness and closure, public and private; there lies a space of pause...It is a space that relates the everyday with the theatrical, city with nature, man with the world. In between city blocks passages are more than linking routes, they are thresholds withinn the city. Spaces onto which images of the garden are projected, glimpses of light and darkness, invitations for the inhabitant of the city...There, in the projective spaces is where life happens, people are linked with a reality that lies beyond the space. It is where the invisible is sensed.


The contemporary city is still haunted by the modernist's problem of the ground. If we are to design within an urban context we should first seek to understand the relationships of the common, the threshold situations which we face in our everyday life; the in-between space is the distance that sustains the co-existance of the opposites.

I am interseted in the theatrical qualities of architecture that can be revealed through time, experience and engagement.

The project

Residence and Market: two buildings of different character. Hoxton Square: a garden, a room of trees. Here, the time shift of the office workers meets the rhythms of day and night, sun and rain, when they sit in the square for their lunch break. The project is about the reality of the city: 'living in' and 'arriving at' the garden. Two conditions that nevertheless describe a place of diversity.

The buildings sit quietly, they become part of the city fabric; at the two opposing sides of the square they form a dialogue. The garden is the space that physically separates and connects them. A series of rooms is created along the site. The in-between spaces; passages as thresholds between the square and the courtyards, the site and the city. The 'empty spaces' become as important as the buildings themselves. It is there, where public meets private, where positive meets negative. Atmospheres of transience and stillness come to unfold as one walks along the site. All rooms are related, one fulfills the other.

The character of the square as a heterogenous mix is preseved. The proposal reinforces the activity that already happens, maintaing the green area as a means of psychological health within the urban environment. I was interested in in the relation of the square with the site around it, with routes and streets, all the in-between spaces that compose our experience of the place. Rooms that can be read as autonomous or as part of the whole create a strong link bewteen th site and the city. The new design not only acknowledges but also requires the transfromations that occur in time and through human inhabitation in order to be fully understood. Its architecture seeks the empathy of its audience.

Katerina Pertselaki

Katerina's project developed from her dissertation work which concerned the theatricality of the modern city, and in particular, the relationship between building objects and urban fields. The passages of Paris, which Aragon and Benjamin write of, inspired her reading of Hoxton Square as an extended territory of intimately-public spaces. Katerina's proposal attempts to develop and to densify the material and spatial conditions of the 'back of house' situation of the rear of the town houses which fringe the square. Her castings of these spaces transform solid and void qualities into densifications of surfaces, liminal and interstitial realms, sites for encounter and exchange. The temporary and transient activities of a market encapsulate the festive and ordinary qualities of the square, and establish a rythm and scale to the events which occur there. This activity is housed in a collapsible structure of timber walls which are flat-packed when stored and open out to become urban furniture and settings for action when in use. The densification of the site is further exaggerated by the concret walls which act as structure both for the 1st floor market galleries and also create a barrier and entrance to the square. The combination of solid and lightweight construction denotes ground and vertical conditions, city scape and private realms. The housing across the newly landscaped square also plays a part in this material exchange. It comprises, similar to the market structure, earthworks and public territories as well as suspended private rooms. The malleability of the architectonic faacdes of the buildings enable participation with the architecture of the square. The twin conditions of city living, the intimate and expansive, are exposed to each other.

Dr Nelson Zzzzzzzzzz
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