Next Project

Afterimage - A Vision for Gateshead City Centre

Part 1 Project 2011
Felicity Barbur
Newcastle University, UK
Presented with a project to design a cyclist’s hotel and city centre complex through volumetric and morphological studies of the Gateshead car park, the requirement was for the new architecture to oscillate and reflect between the past and present.

With the demolition of the car park I began to uncover its lasting impression on the city. I became aware that a change of perspective transcends the depicted output of the object’s visual identity and this produced a discourse based on opposing afterimages. Inspired by Robert Venturi’s ‘I am a monument’ I developed the belief that the site needed to not just defend its controversial location, but in doing so iterate its existence as an intervention between the reality of built form and the immateriality of an image. This would highlight the irony in the afterimage between the well-known ‘Get Carter’ car park and the traditionally named Trinity Square.

Kevin Lynch’s ‘The image of the City’ describes image development as a two way interaction between the observer and the observed. Lynch states that the imageability of an object is based on three components: structure, meaning and identity. These yield a strong sense of legibility that makes it a visually recognisable entity whilst soaked in memories that are unique to the individual. My aim was to demonstrate how the flattening of a composition removes depth and experiential quality of the built environment and therefore the nature of architecture.

Using a satirical and critical language I developed a design that expresses the duality of the afterimage, to create a salient solution to an overlooked reality. With the attitude that Gateshead could have more to offer than a skyline view across the Tyne, the site overtly turns its back on symbolism. The outcome was in fact a very expressive form towards Newcastle, but from the remote perspective it remains largely unobservable behind the screen. Only by combining it with the arrival on site is the observer then able to truly view its subtle intricacy and varying functionality. This experiential quality of urban inhabitation reflects the afterimage elements and the reality of the new design.

Felicity Barbur


• Page Hits: 4871         • Entry Date: 15 September 2011         • Last Update: 15 September 2011