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Altered Perception - Football Association Headquarters

Part 2 Project 2008
Michael Eales
University of Lincoln, UK
Through the constant questioning of the “normal” way in which things are perceived a journey has been undertaken. Development of an idea through experimentation and exploration lead me to a design far away from anything I initially conceived.

The site was chosen in the middle of Soho Square in London and it became immediately apparent that it would be an idea situation for a luxury boutique hotel. Research in to the design of hotel and the considerations that are taken in to account left me unimpressed. Although there are a large number of innovative designs the majority stick to a tried and tested layout.

Questioning why this layout was such and industry standard became my initial goal. This lead me though a number of models and explorations to a point there I had something which in no way resembled architecture. The constant questioning began again when I questioned exactly why I wanted a hotel and why could I not redesign what was there.

The FA Headquarters is in an extremely bland building in a vibrant colourful part of Central London. With the money that had been spent developing Wembley it seems as though the FA had been cheated.

The development of my design came for a totally abstract concept this helped me to stay away from simplistic ideas of football nostalgia and create something that fits the requirements of its inhabitants in an innovative way whilst hopefully providing and intriguing addition to Soho Square.

Michael Eales

Michael’s project is underscored by his fascination of inappropriateness; the idea that something intended for one use can be appropriated for another, and in the process become slightly absurd yet gain by the ensuing juxtapositions. To this end his project started out as a design for a hotel, he developed a modular system, which aptly suited the requirements of a building that would be divided into many smaller spaces. This programme was then rejected and replaced with a programme for a new Football Association headquarters.
The resulting project is a highbred where the manipulation of scale becomes the most important factor; hence grids and volumes that were once potential rooms become structure, lighting, storage or vast open spaces. They still however retain their initial essential qualities, and by their appropriation into something else become much more than there initial potential would suggest.
The fascination in observing this project is how a set of disconnected explorations takes on a new intensity and power when set against a programme that manifestly rejects their nature. The result is a project that is rich in spatial ideas and by default transforms the notion of what, is in effect an office building, can be.

Mr Saleem Al-Mennan
Mr Richard Wright
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