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The Collective Artefact- Edinburgh's Memory Vessels

Part 2 Project 2015
Mark Johnston
University of Dundee, UK
“The real, essential purpose, in this day, of our old buildings is to be instructive relics of the past art and past manners of life.” Morris (1889)

Today, more and more historically significant buildings in the city are considered outdated or obsolete, and are in danger of being demolished. Included in these endangered buildings are the seventy-five cast-iron Edinburgh Police Boxes; B-listed structures that once represented social progress and upheld order in the city.

This project questions the significance of the obsolete urban artefact in the city, and the importance in the collective nature of urban artefacts; the making of a meaningful whole out of many parts. Using the seventy-five Police Boxes as a prime example of obsolete artefacts in the city, and a vehicle for testing various design approaches toward reintegration, the thesis aims to unify the fragmentary structures into a collective whole once more. Once their significance is acknowledged, the Boxes could be re-invented as nodal points of activity and way-finding throughout the city, allowing for an architectural continuity of these historic structures.

Mark Johnston


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