After a really busy last weeks of the semester, we are finally ready to present the final design projects of MArch 2 year students. After having developed urban strategies and masterplans for the cities of Slupsk and Ustka in the first semester, students spent the last 4 months working on variety of different building design projects. Below you will find a detailed report on the projects:
Kian Min- “DIY Mediation”
For more than two decades, Poland has demonstrated representative democracy as the main political movement since the abolishment of communist regime in the 1980s. Through significant narrative historical events, Polish government has been undergoing series of political transformation to find the right form of democracy to enhance metropolitan development and distribution of task. Through dissolution of the central government system towards local government initiatives (voivodeships, gmina and powiat), the question puts forth whether is the formal top-down governance is the right choice of democracy? Subsequently, informal movement of bottom-up initiatives, led by the local governments are seemingly appearing across regions in Poland. The economic conditions in Słupsk however, showed stark differences between polarisation, terrestrial distribution and the level of deprivation in terms of the economy and architecture. Do-it-yourself (DIY) Mediation examines how citizen participation can be demonstrated through the process of critical ‘making’(creative collectivism through DIY co-creation and condition-making process) as the main social-political driver to empower the local community to take ownership in the process of state-building and decision-making with the kinship of government initiatives. This project illustrates the examples of how might we construct conditions and environments that provide a ‘shared agenda’ for both conflicting polarities (top-down and bottom-up movement), resulting series of explorative DIY ‘in-between’ spaces and leaving through a political debate that can impact a broader discussion on the participation of Słupsk.
Fabienne Blunden- “Slupsk Green Energy Lab”
The design aims to bring two actors within Slupsk, the state interventions and urban commons (using top-down and bottom-up techniques respectively), who are presently disjointed in their effects on the city, to participate together and share skills to help build the skill base in Slupsk, in order to become more sustainably aware and move towards greater social cohesion through participatory and practical learning environments.
In addition the building aims to celebrate the binding together of geometrical forms, proposing an ‘abstract structure of progressively broken spherical symmetries’. For example the building design orientates around a load bearing structural brick wall spine which also acts as the service core with multiple geometries intertwining. This wall performs as the environmental regulator interlocking the actors of passive with man-made sustainable mechanical systems illustrating cohesiveness throughout the building. The structural/environmental spine presides in the building where socio-political conferences for sustainable city resilience will take place along-side green energy training, aiming for a radical shift in Slupsk’s social, economic and political systems.
Overall, designing the energy systems to be accessible to all, the ‘cooperation and coordination within and between communities is considered able to transcend the destructive trends of centralised politics and state power’into the city functioning as “an ecological and ethical arena for vibrant political culture and highly committed citizenry”
Katarzyna Skrucha- “DIY CityLab”
Tatjana Geta- “Urban Sitopia”
The design project is a Centre for Sustainable Education. One of the main aspects of this project is urban agriculture and education around ethical food growing, processing and consumption, promoting human scale development and empowering local economy. The idea is to create an urban oasis with interactive, productve spaces to become more aware of food growing, healthy eating, food waste; and educational spaces for young adults to learn new skills, market space for selling locally grown food, commoning, material and knowledge exchange.
As part of the wider theoretical framework of my project I will be looking at the importance of the education for sustainable development, but most importantly the shift of educational paradigm, which would value, sustain and realize human potential in relation to the need to attain and sustain social, economic and ecological well-being.
The cities in the post-industrial era are in a urgent need of a new dwelling model: one that recognizes the dominant role that cities play in the global ecology. This project proposed food as the key to this new model. Its influence is already everywhere around us: in our cities, landscapes, work patterns, social lives, domestic routines, politics, economics and ecological footprints. This gives it unique potential as a conceptual and practical medium. If we can learn to see through the lens of food, we can harness it as a social and physical tool to shape the world for the better. Urban agriculture is political, so citizens should fight for control over their food systems and for recognition as urban farmers.
Konstantinos Lerias, Orestis Michelakis- “Backyard revolution”
Our project is focusing on generating civic engagement and promoting inclusivity through the creation of multi-functional urban space networks that complement and support the existing built environment. The urban spaces created are grounded through a city-wide urban strategy that aims to resolve existing material and socio-economic issues as a vision for a sustainable urban future. As an architectural project the building revolves around 4 different types of spaces:
- Continuous productive landscapes: Coherent introduction of interlinked productive landscapes (urban farms, food produce, hemp cultivations and processing facilities etc) into cities as an essential element of sustainable urban infrastructure. There are 3 primary environmental benefits from organic urban agriculture for the urban food system: preserving bio-diversity; closing material/waste cycles and reducing the amount of energy used to produce and distribute food.
- Recycling facilities: Plugging into local material flows and exploring existing resources that could assist in solving material issues such as poor housing conditions, lack of community infrastructure and poverty. Explore different material technologies, construction material manufacturing, recycling and retrofitting through participatory processes.
- Sustainable energy generation: Utilising organic waste from local households, the existing municipal waste management service and the proposed urban agriculture sites to sustainably generate energy through multiple forms of organic waste processing such as biogas, wood pellets and biodiesel. The various forms of fuel produced aim to rapidly answer the city’s fuel poverty issue but simultaneously allow for a gradual transition to more effective energy systems.
- Residential & community spaces: Experimenting with different models of housing and setting up a platform for social dialogue and commoning to take place.
This project does not only aim to resolve existing issues but rather to promote and test alternative models of coexistence, assembly and collective action; for communities to meet, share knowledge and evolve in opposition to the current neoliberal model.
Luke Jerome- “Refugee Matters: Ustka Community Skills Center”
One of the main contributors in the establishment of successfully integrated refugees in the facilitation of interaction between refugee and existing residents in Ustka. This can be helped in part by the promotion of a shared purpose in the development of the community centre to meet shared needs. This has been started in part by the facilitation of the four main continuing site functions: Meat, Fish, Vegetables and Methane. The Ustka Refugee Community Centre offers an opportunity for both refugee and existing resident to work together for a self-organised development able to meet developing needs of the community. A shared space for shared purpose. The results can help to make the area more attractive and vibrant to both those who live in Ustka, those that visit as tourists and those that stay temporary as refugees. To archive these 10 steps are presented; that if realized, would ensure having a self-organised centre that both refugee and resident can take pride in.
Adam Willis, Alistair Powe- “Refugee Matters: Community of Music”
Community of Music is a radical solution to a national crisis. The project examines the plausibility of integrating refugees into the city of Slupsk in Poland, a city in need of regeneration. The position made by this project is that integration of refugees is pivotal if Slupsk is to be considered locally and globally as a progressive city. However, there is acknowledgement that this type of progressive thinking is a delicate operation- considering the “post-traumatic” identity of Poland and Syrian refugees. The successful integration of Syrian refugees in Slupsk may provide a solution to regenerate and challenge existing attitudes in Slupsk and across Poland.
Zafeiris Katanakis– “Spaces of Common Hope”
A housing project in Slupsk only for refugees could result to isolation and the area to become a ghetto. But the establishment of an active community will give the opportunity to refugees for integration. Community integration means opportunities for participation in schools, careers, homes, relationships, leisure, and a variety of interests and lifestyles.
This project is about social housing for both Polish and Syrian families that will gain the tools to live more sustainably through community-driven projects. The project aims to establish connections between local people of Slupsk, the local council and Syrian refugees in order to create a community that will help Syrian refugees keep their identity but at the same time get integrated and accepted by the Polish people. By living and working together as a community both groups can benefit from each other’s groups knowledge and skills. At the same time both groups will have access to more funding by the E.U., Slupsk City Council and Charity. In order to create an active community that with benefit both groups, circular economies will be developed by production and material reuse, in a knowledge and skills exchange system while empowering people of all backgrounds to make Slupsk a healthier and more efficient city.
Tom Whettingsteel– “Baltic Sea Research Aquarium”
The Baltic Sea Research Aquarium is located within Ustka as part of the research and testing site, located within a new harbor front development in the city. Alongside the primary ideas of the Proto-City initiative, this proposal expands them further. The initial research carried out looks at fighting pollution in the Baltic Sea, with findings being fed back into the wider context of Poland. Subsequently these findings and new behaviours in the Baltic Sea need to be rolled out across the other Baltic countries, learning from both the research of the building and also the new initiative happened across Poland. Baltic Sea Research Aquarium houses both a public aquarium expanding Ustka’s tourist industry and also a research centre focused on dealing with the wide spread issue of pollution in the Baltic Sea. The building intends to foster integration between different users and programs, merging boundaries opposed to using them as a form of division. Located on a peninsular visible from all directions the building hopes to become a landmark, and act as a example of the future use of the Baltic Sea.
Alex Wightman– “Ustka Plastic Lab”
Plastic Lab intervention will address a lack of skills in the general community of Slupsk and Ustka, as well as providing a range of jobs requiring both applicants with vocational skills as well as university graduates. A plastic based visitor centre, recycling factory and craft workshops are proposed, these separate elements will work to realise the wider strategy. Ocean plastic pollution is a global issue with all the world oceans, including the Baltic Sea, being heavily contaminated with plastic debris. This debris has a huge negative impact on wildlife, biodiversity as well as human health and well-being. The Plastic Lab project views the plastic in the oceans in a potential resource. By utilising this resource in craft, research and architectural projects, the cultural perceptions of plastic can be improved and the value of waste plastic increased to the point that plastics are no longer needlessly discarded.
Nikolas Stagkos- “A public bathhouse- towards a participatory model for urban healthcare”
The design project aspires to develop a shift from alternative forms of material production and innovation, towards innovation for social benefits. That is to say it exploits local issues, such as peak tourism, and poor community engagement, and most of all pick up the fact that Ustka is a designated Spa Town. This projects intends to oppose that status, which is to blame for the over-reliance on tourism and the false identity the town has received. Tourism should be neither seasonal nor the facilities used should be exclusively for hotel clients. Ustka has per majority an elderly population during winter months, with no plans by the local council to improve their way of life, or any medical and relaxation facilities. The nearest major hospital is in Slupsk, with poor transport links. Wider theoretical influences will include the concept of the participatory management model, the agenda of the urban health systems and primary healthcare investments, as well as the architectural theory of the “mat building typology”, and precedents on ancient methods of cleansing and spirituality, such as the “Japanese sento ritual” and the ancient “Ottoman bathhouse”.
Jason Poon- “Re-Community”
With the unification of various NGO groups with the cooperation Slupsk’s town council and government, the RE-COMMUNITY project aims to redevelop the city of Slupsk into a vibrant educational hub where community development takes priority. With good networking efforts with local industries and educational institutions. The centre seeks to develop a program in conjunction of these industries and institutions to better understand what skill sets are needed and with that, train and develop potential individuals towards employment. Events such as expos, carnivals, and fairs exposes the communities and their work to outside, creating networks while attracting potential investors to their cause. Concerts, shows and festivities are also organised to bring funding for the operation of the facility.
Jamie Dewdney, Kellie Donavon- “Building towards an adaptable future”
This project looks at alternative housing solutions, integrating communal living with live-work units to not only house residents and provide shelter but enable them to develop skills, further their education and create kick-starter businesses in which they then have the power to expand further. The necessity for this proposal is driven by the fact that the city of Slupsk is on the brink of change, whereby change, driven by newfound investment has seen rise to the council proposing several new urban regeneration projects around the city. This project is a test-bed for how community involvement and integration can strengthen the city as a whole, by encouraging change through smaller, concentrated interventions, rather then large- scale urbanization proposals.
Mun Yee, Seing Seeto- “Progressive catalyst”
A maritime economy strategy was proposed for an urban regeneration in Ustka with the programme strategy collaborating with Slupsk. In initiate this twin cities strategy, three design projects were first integrated in an urban scale to demonstrate the locals the opportunities that can be offered by maritime economy. For this design project, it focuses on the existing local fish market with the intention of using it as a catalyst in influencing the locals in both Ustka and Slupsk to sustain the Baltic Sea as a notion to support the maritime economy. The theory of Bruner’s constructivist educational theory, which is one of the progressive learning method was perceived to be more effective than traditional method will be used as a guide in designing this project. The nature of constructive method promotes users to relate subject with daily lifestyles but the learning subject in this context involves complicated technical industrial processes that is challenging to attract the learning interest of the community. This leads to the discussion of, “How can a conventional space perform an effective constructivist learning environment? “
Chrysa Petrou- “U.M.R.C”
Courtenay John Botterill- “Epiphytic Design: Correlating sustainability with epiphytic architecture”
Outlined through the Urban Strategy the framework provides a system for the city to take control of its future. Having an industrial heart would help to provide longevity to the city, without the adverse affects to the surrounding areas. The proposed framework builds upon the understanding that a functional centre will have a better economic affect from increasing the transportation to the city and its outlying areas. The opportunities arising from increasing the transportation to the city of Ustka will aid the tourism and the local inhabitants equally. The affect of the framework on the city will be at a local scale and provide a connection at a national scale, whilst building a European scale prominence to the city.
Building upon the Urban Strategy the design intervention can interact with the varying actors involved in their decision process for the city. An adaptive design builds upon the belief for a carbon zero future, together with providing a sustainable future for the preservation of the Baltic Sea.