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Interventions at the Conquest Hospital, Hastings

Part 2 Project 2003
Andrew Maher
Stephen Marshall
University for the Creative Arts Canterbury UK
The brief was to analyze Conquest hospital in Hastings and propose an intervention for its benefit.

The main problems identified:
-Ill-defined entrance
-Poor internal circulation due to split level and site gradient
-Internal courtyards inaccessible to the inhabitants

-Redefine main entrance
-Introduction of independent element as a guide and means of orientation
-Relocation of existing public stair to main courtyard acting as a focal point within the hospital
-Access to Main courtyard improved by allowing complete permeability of the surrounding corridors rendering it the new heart and social quarter of the hospital
-An incision made into the existing fabric, creates a physical link to the outside world, giving welcome release to the claustrophobic nature of the hospital.
-The introduction of water to the courtyard provided an area for contemplation and providing a direct link to the exterior lake
-Although proposed intervention to the main courtyard is of a public nature, privacy and tranquility are accommodated within the use of the contemplation pool.

Andrew Maher
Stephen Marshall

This is a collaborative project which investigates making discreet interventions in a modern building type; in this case the Conquest Hospital at Hastings by Powell and Moya.. Completed in February 1992, the architects had designed a sensitive building which responded to a specific site on sloping ground. The hospital buildings conform to a ‘mat’ of accommodation on four levels, punctuated by courtyards and stepping down the hill so that all levels have access to ground level at some point. Soon after completion, the client, while appreciative of the positive qualities of the new building, was already aware of problems of security and orientation, which the sprawling plan created.

Lenny and Andy have looked at the general problems of legibility within the complex; the repetitive spaces and the complex relationship of levels are disorienting. Based on a deep understanding of how buildings are used, their project has explored the interaction between social and formal organizations and the social potential of space. They employed observation and judgment, recording in minute detail and producing pieces of work which interrogate the existing situation. They researched and drew out the whole range of conditions of the site, not just its physical characteristics, and have sought to deal with the issue of navigating ones way through the complex. In particular, they transformed the main courtyard space in order to give coherence and orientation within the building and included a new stair and adjustments to the fenestration. Andy and Lenny’s work was exhibited at the Hospital during the academic year.

This project drew upon the specific interests of both students. Andy’s focus lies in site specific studies and he has developed various techniques for exploring these, in particular the use of pinhole photography to capture haunting landscapes. He has been experimenting with building cameras to achieve the effects he seeks. A recent subject has been the sound mirrors at Dungeness.

Lenny’s work during the Part 2 course at Canterbury has been concerned with responsive environments. Evolving from an interest in kinetic art and architecture, the effects of light and movement were central to Lenny’s studies of urban space both theoretically, and in his research into urban spaces as responsive environments.


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