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The Vessel of Possibilities - A Symbiosis of Industry and Life in Whitby

Part 1 Project 2013
Suki Sehmbi
Sheffield Hallam University, UK
This scheme is heavily driven by social agenda. This assemblage of accessible materials and low-tech-construction technologies celebrates and epitomises the guerilla-esque spirit of material re- and up-cycling. Sited on the water's edge in the harbour area, this project suggests a useful re-use of a part of Whitby to re-invigorate, to re-birth and to re-unite a community.

The site has been central to this scheme; despite its proximity to an area of high tourist footfall, it retains a ‘messy’, honest and working character, with piles of nets and fishing gear populating it; in a typical tourist town, where image consciousness is the be-all and end-all, this is a striking revelation – Whitby’s industry is still alive and well - and the locals are proud of it.

Derived from a perennially cladded scaffolding shelter at a local ship yard, this ark of possibilities facilitates various seasonal and time-specific functions such as morning markets, afternoon beer halls, and periodically new community meeting space. Sheathed in tarpaulin, a movable lightweight shelter on castors is manoeuvred by basic hand-power - with no fancy machines - the simplicity, the directness and the non-fussiness of the scheme celebrate the use of light materials and the real possibility of construction and functional achievability by the untrained, by everybody.

The vessel, with a highly adaptable function, epitomises the spirit of environmental design in a tight-knit community of Whitby. The project is intended as an unapologetic statement of rebellion, an antithesis of mainstream perfection, the polished and the flawless archi-culture of the hidden details. This scheme is an expression of material use, an honesty of detailing, with a heroic mission to benefit Whitby, economically, environmentally and architecturally.

Suki Sehmbi


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