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Medway MIlitary Archive

Part 2 Project 2008
Emma Perry
University for the Creative Arts | UK
The thesis investigates the ideas of war; as a highly ordered system which continuously transforms to counteract applied variables. The development of a MILITARY ARCHIVE with veteran welfare facilities for the medway district, responds to the contextual need to consolidate current ephemera and records that are dispersed throughout the region and the lack of veteran support facilities that are currently available in the locale. The manifesting programme responds to the need to commemorate warfare, whereby the museum and memorial are architectural typologies that respond as such. The thesis considers document taxonomy, sorting, storing and how we perpetuate the ephemeral event through recording and archiving. From the initial ideas of ‘systematic war’ and the process of reaction of applied variables, the thesis has utilised parametric morphology and testing to develop the design from a conceptual origin, to a scheme that challenges traditional ideas of museology to generate spaces that are far more about heightened engagement, rather than passive reflection.

Emma Perry

Emma Perry

Metaphors can kill. The contemporary discourse over war has long been a panorama of metaphor. Many have commented on its use in the gulf war: in propaganda it has always been widespread. While we routinely use an extensive system of metaphor to understand complexities and abstractions, it is important to distinguish what is metaphorical from what is not. A project informed by the mechanisms of conflict and its human consequences must judge its approach with great care. In order to address adequately the difficulties posed by the metaphoric in a complex and potentially sentimental proposal, Emma has developed an architecture of critical spaces, that is to say an architecture in which philosophical speculation is primarily spatialised rather than suborned to written texts, in order to be able to usefully reflect upon present conditions and through which to develop morphologies from within the discourse and practice of architecture. This approach contains within it a potential to allow us to exploit what Foucault called the ‘excess’ which is always present in the object whenever and whatever meanings are invested in it.
Arising out of several strands of research, Emma’s design unfolds itself across a site which prompts responses to diverse adjacencies: incorporating landscape urbanism as a significant component of the overall assemblage, the urban context is such that the proposal sits between medway vernacular and an identikit slab block; it accommodates dual aspects and routes to and from the street and the river. Programmatic context demands a well–judged response to the demands of public, therapeutic, curatorial and archival agendas. This is an architecture which resonates with its generative conditions, but resists facile memorialisation. It brings together a locally perceived need for the consolidation of extant resources with a desire to posit an appropriate contemporary response to issues surrounding veteran welfare and the commemoration of regional military activity.

John Bell

Mr John Bell
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