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Winchelsea Grand Assembly Hall and Radio Tower

Part 1 Project 2012
Max Langran
University of Brighton UK
Winchelsea was founded as a new town on its present site in the 13th century following Old Winchelsea’s cataclysmic descent into the sea. The new town retained its old strategic importance and prominence within the Confederation of Cinque Ports but its prosperity later waned with the silting of its natural harbor. It is now little more than a quiet village marooned on a hill above the low-lying Romney Marsh.

The project is set in the year 2062, when I have decided Winchelsea has become a tightly controlled police state, independent from any external government. The town is run in a dictatorial manner with freedom of expression being limited and architectural merit being decided by the regime. The regime is oppressive, suppressing individualism, and is paranoid of plots against its power and of external influence on the town. This has bred an introverted society whose traits have become exaggerated over time. The ultra-conservative, conformist attitude stems from the current desire in the town to keep things exactly as they are and not try any alternative. This balances with the inverse, the objective of announcing the regime's superiority to a wide audience by making major visual statements.

The proposal explores Winchelsea on a monumental scale, translating the small town atmosphere and applying it to a regime attempting to function in the manner of much larger governments, despite Winchelsea being a micro-state. Through the wish for everyone to conform, the carefully protected character of the town has developed into an exaggerated version of the current one, with each conservation criteria being taken to the nth degree whilst simultaneously being applied to grand architectural gestures of power. The regime is very conscious of how it presents itself and therefore propaganda is a major element of this new society. The state exercises a great deal of control over the residents and the physical attributes of the town.

Max Langran


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