Next Project

ASBox

Part 1 Project 2008
Joseph Haire
Manchester School of Architecture Manchester UK
Art Swim Box __ Art and leisure programs correspond very differently when mapped in the city; galleries and museums are clustered close to the centre whereas the majority of leisure facilities dot the city periphery with the exception of inner-city gym and fitness suites. The site falls into the leisure belt in which art galleries and museums are minimal.
The programme intends to maximise interaction between art and sport users in a culture-leisure clash by coupling a swimming pool with an art gallery. Therefore, a circulation was developed that ensured points of visual and social contact and progres¬sively guides the user around the building with multiple views of the approaching space and to the pool for orientation. To ensure a progressive circulation is maintained the principal generation of form comes from carving away at a block. Using the progressive circulation of the gallery, swimming pool and arrival sequence as the knife, the form of the building emerges from the solid and a monolithic structure is realised.
The gallery and the pool are visually connected by a 10m wide acrylic window which retains the water and provides a view beneath the surface. At night, lights in the pool illuminate the gallery with a blue glow delivering a unique atmosphere and turning the water into an exhibition piece.
Above the pool and gallery is the private roof housing estate. The simple house shapes clearly expressed from the outside provide a visual contextual integration and deliver a strong residential image in a transitional and industrial part of the city where the existing communities are dominated by warehouses.
On the north and east elevations the circulation will be expressed as cantilevered boxes of light unfolding around the internal cores. This light is perceived as a glowing plinth on which the elevated houses seem to float. Structure is concealed and replaced visually by boxes of light and dark.
To counter the dominant industrial aesthetic of the context the building assumes a monolithic form however, sculptural circulation ramps deliver a gentle ascent into the building inviting interaction and softening the facade to address the com


Joseph Haire


ASBOx_Art|Swim|Box

Programmatic complexity underpinned with a social agenda.

Students are required to select their own site and develop their own programme in response to
analysis of an identified urban zone. This area of east Manchester is characterized by a prevalence
of light industrial and automotive industries punctuated by pockets of social housing of varying era
and type. The distinct lack of recreational and cultural facilities was identified as isolating and
marginalizing the local populous and exacerbating the ‘island’ characteristics of the separate
residential enclaves.

The notion of a socio-cultural collision and the role of a prescribed sequential experience in the
exposition of art and an imbibed educative process was key to the development of both programme and
form. This hybrid serves not only to educate and reinvigorate but also to promote a new sense of
community engagement and ownership and civic responsibility.

The inclusion of a new social enclave at a raised datum challenges the assumed value ascribed to
this typology; the housing is potentially desirable insofar as it replicates characteristics of a
conventional suburban condition in a distinctly urban context. The social tenure is viable, given
the density of the scheme, and valuable as a source of revenue, occupation and security.

The formal resolution was driven by the definition of particular routes of arrival, dispersal and
the drive for the optimum occasion of collision balanced with the functional requirements of the
programme.

This scheme manages to successfully negotiate complex social issues whilst responding with a humour
and an optimism that exhibits a lack of prejudice and belief in the values of ‘community’. It is
technologically resolved without this reality impacting on ambition and architectural expression.
The success and merit of this scheme lies in this balanced approach to the resolution of the demands
of the studio agenda and articles of compliance in an intelligent architectural edifice.

Tutor(s)

2008
• Page Hits: 8447         • Entry Date: 14 September 2008         • Last Update: 14 September 2008