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The Primary Element Project: Healing the Pathological Typology

Part 1 Project 2022
Thomas James Crowe
Ulster University | UK
From the late 1960s to 1998, Northern Ireland underwent a rapid period of sectarian violence, more commonly known as the Troubles. In Belfast, this was a time of police brutality, riots, mass protests, civil disobedience, and paramilitary organised bombing campaigns. Large walls were erected throughout the residential districts of Belfast to segregate opposing communities and establish peace. These urban artifacts are now commonly known as Peace Walls and run along Peace Lines of historical conflict.

24 years after the Good Friday Agreement, the city of Belfast now resides in moderate peace. However, the urban fabric remains relatively unchanged with Peace Lines and hidden barriers weaved deep into the city fabric and its collective memory. The Peace Walls have begun a transition into a symbolic function: functioning more like museum pieces than infrastructure.

The Primary Element Project aims to confront the pathological typology for what it is: a wound that never healed. An architectural intervention predicated on the theoretical work of Aldo Rossi and his seminal book: The Architecture of the City. It aims to begin the healing process and reclaim the parts of the city that are like “embalmed bodies” that only give a sense of life.

Thomas James Crowe


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