A two-month project completed in the first semester of my final year at Nottingham..
The Brief for Project 2 comissioned the design of a construct, with a functioning librarian space, within the City of Lincoln that responded and adapted to the environment around it. Having researched and explored the city I was then able to create such a structure that would embed itself into the rich tapestry of Lincoln and would subsequently benefit its inhabitants.
How are the existing entities in Lincoln defined?
The physical boundaries of the castle and cathedral exterior are known to give protection from the rest of the city as well as promoting an image of grandeur and power through their architectural elements. However, since most of the city has been built on ruins from the Romans, Medieval settlement, Celtics etc. This could suggest that the lack of respect for history and the temporal boundaries merging has “cursed” these entities and caused them to decline in the same way, therefore they are protected from the other entities of Lincoln but not from their site. To counteract this "curse" the construct will need to adapt to its cultural heritage whilst further capturing the modern essence of the city.
Is the culural history of Lincoln valued more than its modern counterparts?
The contemporary elements in the city hide the castle and cathedral from view and so physically show that they have taken over in the “power struggle” of the city whilst similarly demonstrate a lack of respect for the cultural and historical aspects of the town. This is shown through the fact that the modern elements have become nothing more than facades that are filled with commercialism – they have no depth to them or cultural richness. Despite the fact the contemporary part of the city is the most popular, it is only this way because it is in an easier location at the bottom of the hill and because it provides the town with this commercial aspect which is commonplace to the present society. This suggests that although more people are around the town they are not really exploring it or interested in it in the same way that they are in the cultural entities at the top of the hill. If the castle and cathedral were removed from the typography of Lincoln it would just become an ordinary city found anywhere in the country. This therefore suggests that the struggle to get to the top of the hill to see them is rewarding and gives you more of a story of Lincoln that can’t be told by the “box-like facades” in the city. Unlike the pool which as an original and natural settlement place within Lincoln has been ruined by the modern commercial buildings, there is still the opportunity for the castle and the cathedral to regain their prosperity by incorporating a modern structure that embraces them rather than detracts from them.
What does a glimpse into Lincoln show?
The ruins and the damaged materials within the castle and the cathedral have aged over time and could potentially tell stories about the history they have witnessed and the destruction they have seen. They are reminders of both the former glory of these entities as well as the past mistakes that have been made that has seen their loss of significance. The fragmented elements within them represent the fragmented relationships within Lincoln and demonstrate that currently there is nothing cohesive in the city – everything is a separate entity.
A new structure is needed to create a dialogue between the elements of the past and the future. To rebuild these relationships a design that collaborates elements of all aspects of the city would be required. This can be achieved by taking positive components of each entity, such as a protective layer, the scratchings on the walls that provide a surface to explore through touch or the thresholds within these spaces that frame another path to draw people in. By using the positive aspects of these spaces and joining together the fragments of culture, it could bring richness to the new structure yet ensuring it becomes evolved and adaptable to everyday life. With the function of the construct being to peel back the layers of history to create something new, the focus of the librarian space is to investigate and explore the memories and future encounters of Lincoln. It is intended to be a space that combines all the dualities within Lincoln and creates a harmonizing dialogue that enriches the experience of those who visit the construct. It is a place that gives people the power to explore Lincoln through learning, instead of taking it for themselves, as the other establishments have done in the past.