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Enabling Constructions_Magnet Project

Part 1 Project 2008
Emma Flynn
Newcastle University, UK
To establish a valid equation between social aspirations and Architecture, it is essential to add to the latter Doubt, Delight and Change as design criteria - Cedric Price

Designed with uncertainty in mind, the magnet provides an architectural playground for a programme that is hybrid and changeable, and derives from the current social, cultural and economic tensions of the site. It is a form of soft architecture (Toyo Ito) that avoids becoming fixed and finished, enabling activities and events, and providing flexibility for the ‘uncertainty of the real’ – a direct response to the here and now.

The constructed spaces encourage community interaction and socio-educational development through 3 stages: communication, learning and play, while their magnetic influence and attraction extends into the surrounding areas. The magnet generates and activates public space in its proximity, and unites the lower and upper levels of Newcastle’s now redundant masterplanning scheme of the 1970s, providing delight and social benefit in an area of neglect and misuse.

Emma Flynn

Emma Flynn’ scheme responds with remarkable proficiency to the 1970’s unfinished and utopian urban plan for Newcastle which was to split public space into two levels: one level for pedestrian the other one for cars.

The proposed new complex topography enables the negotiation of an awkward platform system in a playful and delightful way. The artificial hill connecting both city levels and the polycarbonate pods finding their way through the columns of a most unpleasant existing tunnel demonstrate Emma’s bright response to the contemporary city and ability to generate an urban magnet.

Located between a central library, an art gallery and a civil centre, this highly permeable building caters for those whose access to such institutions is hindered by a disability or educational poverty. This building acts as a positive interface between these three major institutions.


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