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Perceptibly Different - Fundamentally Homologous

Part 1 Project 2009
William Brewster
Ulster University | UK
Any attempt to support the expression of cultural identity in contemporary society raises complex and potentially divisive issues. In response, this project proposes that an amalgamation of intrinsic values and underlying homologous features can be found at the centre of almost any culture.

Memories of past cultural conflicts both in Ireland and specifically on the site itself have conspired to reassert the urgency and necessity of an education in understanding, acceptance and in mutual respect within contemporary multi-cultural cities. 

On first examination the scheme appears as a non-uniform composition of form and material, resulting in a diverse and varied aesthetic, free from an imposed design rationale. On closer inspection however, the form reveals itself as the culmination of a series of uniformly transposed actions.

The entire scheme is designed around cubes, pure shapes symmetrical and uniform, representative of the individuals within any culture, all subject to the fundamental basics of life, birth, love, sleep, work death etc.. These cubes have then been tilted at a 5 degree angle on both the x and y axis to represent these individuals slants on “life” before being rotated, brought together overlapped and intermeshed to form one building, one form, one micro-culture which works together from the inside out. 

Function has been carved into form and discovered space relationships used to encourage cultural interaction. Spaces such as the contemplative gallery have been created to contrast with the main multi-cultural gallery space to stimulate reflection on the negativity and impact of cultural hatred, and discrimination and then to reassert the importance and benefit of a multicultural society and acceptance of it.

The entire form sits within the midst of a culturally rich Jewish society with traditional buildings, and Jewish synagogues bordering the site. The form sits amidst this context with the intention of encouraging debate about its ‘otherness’, challenging the notion of difference.

William Brewster

Locating an All-Ireland cultural embassy in Amsterdam, this proposal expresses the complexity, diversity and richness inherent in multi-cultural contemporary life.

Related but unique spatial elements are incrementally rotated, shifted and embedded within the site in a programmatic loop, recalling previous investigations by Eisenman and Ito amongst others.

Boundaries between spaces, programme and site become blurred in this process. Discovered spaces are occupied, adapted and adopted, investing belief in the inevitability and ultimate strengths of cultural diversity and assimilation.

Mike McQueen
3rd Year Tutor
BA Hons Architecture
University of Ulster

Mr Mike McQueen
Dr Jenny Millar
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