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Sailing Places

Part 1 Project 2008
Niall Bird
University of Portsmouth Portsmouth UK
How can a building with a particular, functional rationale engage and converse with its natural setting yet maintain its integrity as a clear, constructed addition?

Deciphering the characteristics of the context and applying these to the building design from its basic parti through to its detailed construction and use of materials, ensures that the design reflects and reacts to its environment. At the same time by keeping these references functional and subtle the sailing centre can maintain its integrity as a working building that serves a specific purpose.

Vertical elements and a series of horizontal plains echo the immediate man-made and natural typography respectively while the design of the building uses layering to dissolve into the harbour from solid core to abstracted frame and finally to the floating pontoons. It is at the extremities of the building that the environment dictates to a greater extent how the structure can be used.
The buildings exterior reacts to its orientation by closing-up into the prevailing wind and becoming translucent and open on its sheltered sides, particularly towards the north where it seeks to engage physically and visually with Emsworth by extruding an external terrace from its core towards the town; the walls also becoming transparent.
On the exposed south side facing Emsworth harbour sliding panels and smaller, specific openings make up the elevation, they change and move according to conditions but overall essentially appear more fixed and robust.

In the tradition of artificial impositions made to the surrounding environment it is envisaged that the building will, in time and after its useful life is over, dissolve back into its context becoming one of the artificial constructed elements on the natural horizontal plain that dictated its form initially.

Integration and cohesion is central to the rationale of the scheme expressed in its form, use of materials, construction and eco-friendly design. The building sits into its landscape using the conditions as assets and allowing them to influence its design. In this way the building attempts to be eco-conscious, further emphasised by the inclusion of sustainable technologies fully integrated into the fabric of the building.

Niall Bird

This project is designed to require an integrated consideration of a building in relationship to its site and context , but also in terms of an understanding of material, construction and environmental design. The site is on the south coast at Emsworth , West Sussex, where sailing and watersports are part of the culture of the place. The brief was for an outdoor activity centre, requiring a sensitive response to the site and a strong connection between inside and outside.
Conceptually the scheme was driven by its position alongside the shore, a frame tethered to the land, its orientation and internal organisation determined by careful consideration of immediate local climate, sun, wind . The scheme incorporates, natural ventilation and cooling and also solar panels to support heating systems.
Niall’s scheme intended to present a contrast between natural landscape and the artificiality of the structure. The frame was expressed on the outside of the building, the space within contrasted as a light timber structure. This was investigated in sketch model to develop an approach to the manufacture of the building. It was conceived as a building of layers and the construction approach was to further develop this , the sketch models explored and evolved an approach to the construction of the building.
This scheme was thoroughly considered, the first stages of placing the building and considering its location through to the detail development have been a process of testing , and intelligently responding to the site and the brief.

Ms Lorraine Farrelly
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