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SALT soul art life therapy

Part 1 Project 2012
Christina Varvouni-Giatrakou
Arts University Bournemouth, UK
The brief for the Extended Major Project tackles the hugely controversial IMAX site in the centre of Bournemouth and its adjacent car park. In its entirety, the site occupies an area of just over a hectare on a prime waterfront position. The IMAX building itself has ignited a series of politically fuelled debates, and is on the precipice of wholesale demolition. It stands as a useless, empty shell, spreading negative spatial energy into its urban context, and creates a depressing ambience to what used to be an extremely active and nodal juncture for the city.

The topographical survey reveals a cross fall of twenty metres from cliff-top to sea level over a distance of approximately 200 metres. In addition, the site is obstructed from the natural convergence of land to sea, via a gradation of spurious and fragmented prosaic structures. The brief was deliberately loose in its requirement for a building type, and we were asked to speculate on a hybrid form that contained an element of temporary accommodation.

I delved into the historical background of Bournemouth as an influential spa town thriving on a combination of salt laden air, sea and densely planted pine forest. Moreover, the site has been analysed extensively to understand how it functions as a town in the 21st century and supports its growing population.

Throughout the project my prime objective has been to maintain humanity to what I am proposing and demonstrate the importance of human scale. The idea of using the planet’s natural resources to heal and rejuvenate our bodies inspired me to use nature within architecture to heal and rejuvenate the city.

Salt as a crystalline mineral not only offers many health benefits, but also possesses a beautifully delicate materiality and is experimented with throughout the project. In essence, it becomes the project and anchors the scheme in a tangible way to the site’s natural phenomenon, that is, the sea.

Christina Varvouni-Giatrakou


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