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Choreographing Architecture

Part 2 Project 2009
Daniel Moor
University of Bath, UK
Two centuries after the abolition of slavery, an architectural statement, a defined symbol connected to the worth of human rights is still being sought. This masterplan, compliant with Redcliffe SPD3 requirements, represents a unique opportunity to transform the fortunes and social standing of this area of Bristol through the redevelopment of one of its greatest assets; the wharf frontage that links to River Avon heritage, its caves and the open sea. It is conceived to be a place that unites understanding of Bristol’s connections to a transatlantic slave trade where, in one year alone, over half a million Africans were carried into slavery.

Many of the sites that linked to the slave trade are utilised within the design in an effort to visually pull Bristol’s past into the present. The building’s narrative develops at city and spatial level and is shaped using a pallet of cinematic techniques that were researched/developed as part of the dissertation. Particular use is made of the components of narrative structure, light, sound and montage. In sympathy with the triangular trade the proposal develops a trilogy of buildings each of differing function but linked, balanced and encapsulated within a shared landscape. The central Void/boat concourse represents the experience of the slaves; the Gallery museum/workshops represent learning and the industrious Bristolians and the Performance Auditorium/outdoor Amphitheatre celebrate the triumph of free spirit over the failings of greed.

A wooden memorial void emerges from the centre of the development as a primary focus. Open to all elements it links subjectively, through the senses, with the darker issues raised above and below deck within such an inhuman trade. It provides a beacon; a landmark of interacting wood, water, light and shadow spilling out freedom along a memorial axis and providing a gateway into Redcliffe, from land and sea. Crafted to engender an informed sense of belonging within the spectator; a place is offered where resident and tourist alike can reflect, connect, learn and celebrate. Architecture that endures carries meaning, is viewed by culture and exists as the authorship of the artist in the thoughts of the people.

Daniel Moor

Dan has been nominated for the prize because of the skill, ambition and passion that he brought to this project a museum of slavery in Bristol, a project brief of his own conception. Building on his work in the dissertation he explores the syntax of moviemaking and the way that it can be used to create emotive architectural space in a highly complex site. In creating a memorial he has had to negotiate complex issues to do with the creation of meaning in contemporary society head on, no easy task. It is for these reasons that we recommend him to you.

Dr Flora Samuel

Mr Martin Gledhill
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