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Karosta Monuments

Part 2 Project 2014
Moksud Khan
University of East London London | UK
Karosta is an ex-soviet occupied neighbourhood in Latvia, home to abandoned buildings and structures that stand like monuments of war.

This project introduces a new monument that contains vehicle workshops, as well as wood and metal workshops, and a canteen for the workers and local people. The building sits at the centre of Karosta, between a garage complex and three apartment blocks.

The mass is inspired by the sculptural nature of soviet monuments and the fluid and edgy qualities of sculptures by artist David Quayola. The mass began as a simple monumental structure. Then a fluid subtraction was performed out of a solid mass. Sculpting a fluid subtraction produces a void between the mass that does not resemble the tool it has been subtracted with, or the mass that it has been subtracted from.

The void becomes an entity in itself. The void becomes a timber bridge that forms the circulation within the building. The timber develops its own design logic where it starts to take over the concrete elements and become internal surfaces defining space within the building.

Three different objects form the building. Each object has its own material system and function.

1) An external concrete shell, inspired by bunkers found on the coast of Karosta.

2) A timber material system that has a more fluid character, which is like exploding shrapnel that penetrates the concrete shells and defines internal volumes within the building.

3) A steel staircase that acts as the secondary structure. The staircase is supported by exposed steel members that sometimes become ornamental parts of the building facade.

These three multi-object objects are designed by taking clues from buildings, materials and construction techniques found in Karosta.

The overall mass of the building consists of two low polygon volumes connected by a high resolution timber bridge. The timber grows through the building and forms a large and lightweight cantilever which is supported by the steel staircase. Steel tension cables emerge from the staircase, through the rear of the building to provide counter balance. Interaction between these three objects produces the spaces and volumes within the building.

Moksud Khan


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