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A Finnish Institute for Newcastle

Part 1 Project 2003
Wei Shan Chia
Roberto Costa
Newcastle University, UK
This project explores the subject of identity. In search of definition, cultures are compared against one another. Though statements and opinions can be formulated these are at best generalisations, at worst stereotypes. More fundamental is the celebration of the unique, the discovery of similarities within human nature. Reflecting the exploratory function of the institute, the building follows a progression from compartmentalisation to free flowing space. The concept manifests in the ordering wall, solid and densely inhabited at the base, reduced to skin and structure at the highest point. The route created in and around the wall facilitates space for encounter and gathering, continuing in the cultural redevelopment of Newcastle's Quayside.
Wei Shan Chia
Roberto Costa


Wei Shan's scheme seeks to fit in with the layered complexity of the Newcastle Quayside by creating a 'connective route' through the site that follows the historic 'chare' pattern of urban development in the area. We liked the way in which she organised the functional brief around the simple device of a central route through the site, thereby establishing a legible framework to facilitate an interplay of contrasting cultural themes according to a hierarchical system of progression, vertically, from public to private, solid to void, 'boxed' to free flow of space. The transition from density to light is poetically manifested in her assured use of the simple, pure formal language of Finnish architecture.

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2003
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