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The New Local

Part 2 Project 2009
Margaret Bursa
Bartlett School of Architecture (UCL) London UK
The New Local is a social manifesto, designed to challenge the accepted architecture of the suburb and then the metropolis reflecting changing attitudes to life and our daily pattern of work, rest and play. My resulting architectural design - housing, parkscapes, and playgrounds, are investigated at scales ranging from the masterplan to a focus on the details of the everyday.

The Czech town of Zlín is the site of a social, industrial and architectural experiment begun by Tomas Bata in 1894. However, his shoe-making factories that were once the town’s driving force no longer operate and so the social and commercial structure of the town and its suburbs are in decline. Responding to the New Local Manifesto a layer of facilities is laid over and interwoven into the residential neighborhoods where seven housing typologies are afforded dual functions of work and domestic life such the House of Drink, where both production and consumption are combined.

The New Local in New York creates a ‘landscape of movement’ that takes the form of a condensed urban playground on the west side of Manhattan, overhanging onto the River Hudson. The landscape responds to the principles of the New Local in Zlín, making a shift of small town social relationships to a neighborhood in the metropolis. This shift responds to the needs of the work-propelled urban dweller. It is also inspired by the ongoing relocation of immigrants and cultures to America, in particular Sokol, a Czech mass-exercise movement, promoting togetherness, flocking, fresh air and cultural pride.

The resulting architectural landscape is conceived as a life-size topographical map, using and respecting nature to create a building that will blur and soften the edges of lower Manhattan to allow nature and society to meet. In addition to creating movement through exercise, the building will breathe and exercise to create energy.

My work is fuelled by the need to express the materiality, colour and richness in the details of the everyday through an assemblage of design components. The models and drawings are both an interplay of these observations and responsive spatial design.

Margaret Bursa


Margaret is a student of extraordinary vigour and originality. Her off-beat design style and curious observations lead to idiosyncratic architecture that is a visual and spatial delight. Her design is predicated on personal experience of the post-communist Czech Republic and nostalgia for ideological living. However, she layers a rich miscellany of social, cultural and political reference and research: garden cities, mass exercise (Sokol), the émigrés, city dwelling, rambling, nationalism, allotments, environmental technologies, geology, the long distance runner, brewing, etc., into a manifesto for metropolitan and suburban living.

She develops two proposals where architecture and landscape are fused into a theatrical performance and where the user is engaged in an energetic relationship with the built environment. The New Local Zlín, is a template for the integration of amenities and habitats in a beleaguered modernist suburb.

The New Local New York, is a landscape topography that promotes exercise and social interaction. Margaret’s design envisions rambling routes as training grounds, hill climbs as auditoria and nature as megastructure, all wrapped as a kind of fantasy island.

Her work is bold and remarkable—models become drawings, drawings are modelled, colours, texture, surface and space are overlaid and interwoven in a complex architectural collage.

Tutor(s)
Ms Laura Allen
Mr Mark Smout

2009
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