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Prosperity Store

Part 1 Project 2011
Daniel Bell
Ulster University Belfast UK
The European city selected for the Project was Dublin. With a choice of four sites the Brief was for a hybrid cultural building or ‘embassy’. Getting the Project started was a three-day study trip to the city. Once there, we met with local architects, academics, design practitioners, historians, and inhabitants. This, as well as another later visit to the Central Map Library, helped build my knowledge of the city. Placing me in a position of making initial value thoughts about the design Brief and programme.

By the end of the first visit I had chosen a site at the corner of Essex St. West and Exchange St. Lower. A location resonant with historical, social and political importance, it stands on the west periphery of Temple Bar.

Within the outline and early design development stages I quickly took issue with conventional Brief and programme as set for the Project, and in discussion with studio tutors moved my Project away from a ‘cultural centre’ for Northern Ireland, which had inherent constraints, and towards something that would be a bit more provocative, and maybe even meaningful. Given the current economic climate affecting us all on the island, the idea was for a ‘Prosperity Store’, a building that was seeking to start a conversation around readdressing current economic models, and balancing growth and ecological well being in a more holistic philosophy. The ambition was spurred by my reading of certain texts, most notably Tim Jackson’s ‘Prosperity without Growth’.

In Urban terms I took time to discuss issues of historical importance with national and city archaeologists, and using this as a starting point chose to connect the building to the street by linking the public entrance from Exchange St. Lower to public display of a Viking era and 18th Century archaeological dig at what would be lower ground level. This simple move made manifest the history of the site, linking it with activities within the buildings interior through the placing of the auditorium. Acknowledging the surrounding city scale the building rises three storeys from ground on Essex St. West, and four on Exchange St. Lower.

Daniel Bell

Tutor(s)
Mr Mike McQueen
2011
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