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Part 1 Project 2014
Zuzana Sojkova
University of Kent | UK
The brief for my Urban final design project was to make an architectural proposal for a School of Music and Fine Art in Rochester, England, consisting of a variety of building types including a concert hall, library, gallery, café, offices, seminar rooms, workshops, music practice rooms, student accommodation, as well as open public space.

The site between its cathedral and Norman castle, on the lines of a Roman camp, was treated as a place of transition with heavy vehicular traffic rather than a historically important space. A mixture of various issues provided a recipe for a challenging and exciting project proposing an improvement not only for its inhabitants but also for tourists and literature enthusiasts, who seek to visit this town due to its association with Charles Dickens.

The development attempts to conceptually bring together Rochester´s historical and industrial side. The masterplan is derived from an analysis of sieges of the adjacent Norman castle with a building form representing different warfare strategies. Together with an incorporation of a former Roman wall, it thus serves an educational purpose and tries to find new modern ways of using historically important architectural elements. It engages the landscape by reintroducing water into a former castle ditch and honours the past by enhancing the perception of the existing historical monuments. Shipbuilding and nearby dockyards provide a precedent for rainwater collection, water level control mechanisms, wastewater treatment and for music practice rooms positioned on moveable platforms. The choice of materials such as weathering steel, glass and concrete also reflects area’s industrial heritage.

The whole composition is according to futurist principles seen as an organism, constantly in motion, intertwined with a number of circulation routes and interconnected through its insides. The site can be therefore discovered without the danger of being soaked by English rain. It attempts to abolish the importance of façade and provides a viewing tower and walk-on roofs enabling people to appreciate Rochester from a different perspective, as a whole composed of a myriad of architectural and natural fragments. Every part plays its practical and aesthetic role.

Zuzana Sojkova


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