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URBAN PLATFORM

Part 1 Project 2002
Keisuke Kobayashi
Matt Chan
Amelia Holliday
University of Bath Bath UK
URBAN PLATFORM > a conversational operation.

Status: 6400sqm elevated 8m above the former hockey pitch, UWE (University of West of England), Bristol Parkway.

The Urban Platform operates as an extroverted entity encouraging urban scenarios of conversational and social engagement. Our 21st century reinterpretations of platform, arena, urban park, stage and reception, gives rise to the presence of this 6400m2 architectural entity as a collective form for conversational activities, intensifying the public’s awareness in the Bristol Parkway social conditions.

Hence, the Urban Platform is a place to raise voices, to encourage participation, acting as a social-platform for Bristol Parkway and adding a new dimension to its global network.

PARKWAY CONDITIONS > Corporate landscape VS Post industrial landscape

A distorted social structure has emerged between Corporate entities and the existing industrial units. Unexplored and undeveloped landscapes have presented Corporate entities with vast amounts of space in which to establish their headquarters. They operate introspectively as individual units in this urban context, as well as the centres of large trans-national management networks. The formulation of internal social and conversational space are confined within the contained space of these architectural entities. Any external engagements are further dimmed by the reclusive local housing arrangements, where its Post-industrial locality, interwoven with the working local inhabitants created a tight micro community. Social interfacing opportunities became limited, forcing a situation where there is little 'public' interaction and where hypertext has become as a the last desperate resort for the expression of emotions externally.

THEME: SHOUTING > a physical external expression of presence

An educational Institution such as UWE is already a platform for the demonstration of the process of self-development and mind exploration. Students are expected to fulfil and act with the responsibility of adulthood understood and be prepared to contribute to society.

Now Bristol Parkway has suspended the desire to communicate from the concept of gathering and that the lack of will has extended further into sociological space, breaking up any possible classification of space which is dedicated to interpersonal or collective communication.

Situated on UWE campus, our proposal : Urban Platform is demonstrably a venue of liberation, for people from Bristol Parkway of all age groups and social background to stand up in a public space allowing debate, confession or the free expression of opinion.

UP > shout amplifies the architecture

The 3.5m deep verendeel trussed superstructure re-defines its own site as transitional zone of landscape breaking down an accepted boundary on its former level and resets the ground datum to PLATFORM level.

All materials driving the architecture are contained within this |PLATFORM structure, environmental control units and spatial objects intersect with circulation and social activities.

The central core accessed from the north and south intrudes into the inner superstructure where the differentiated spaces for varying levels of conversation are heard.

In between the new datum and the superimposed ground plane are two volumes positioned to achieve a dialogue with the surrounding urbanity, views, access and natural lighting for gathering activities within the voids.

Programmes with various purposes and scales of influence e.g. conventions, lectures, markets, shows and concerts activate the void and produces radical fluctuations in population intensity between the two volumes.

Rows of steel louvres run along the perimeter of the platform regulating the sunlight penetration. These alternate with visual and audio devices, broadcasting the activities inside to spaces beyond the platform boundaries.

CONVERSATION or raising the decibel level of the SHOUT

The Platform becomes a monument to speech, or visions of sound. 9 Speech Enhancer Modules await on the surface of the open-air platform at the highest level of the superstructure. Equipped with web cams and lighting units, visions and opinions are traced, amplified and webcast - on line.

The Reception spaces double up as a gallery space with viewers watching online monitor screens of the oral activities of above, engaging in debates with each other. Similarly, multiple events may be engaged in all spaces, its spatial transformability allows soft control over these evolving activities. The ability for each spatial boundary to fluctuate promotes the dynamic use of the platform allowing diverse collaboration and interaction between groups and individuals, resulting in new mode of planning that is responsive to, but challeges new urban conditions.

Keisuke Kobayashi
Matt Chan
Amelia Holliday


Matt and Keisuke made the strongest project of the first half of the Final Year of the BSc - the curriculum here calls for a joint project in this period to be made by a team of two architectural students with one structural engineering student. This project lasts for 10 weeks and is the core of the Part 1 submission - the remainder of the year is an individual design project - Matt and Kei excelled in both parts of the year, but their joint project was considered exemplary in its response to the challenge of adding a large building to the campus - understanding structural and constructional considerations related to a long span structure and realising the social potential of the project which was for two halls and their associated ancillary spaces - a generic program, which demanded reinterpretation. The URBAN PLATFORM establishes three territories - under the platform on grade, in the platform and on the platform. The project is undeniably powerful and sucessfully engaged with the problematic character of the atopical zone of Brisol Parkway to make a place for social interactions of many kinds supported by architecture of a high quality.

2002
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