Highly Creative Minds recently prepared a design for the Sachsenburg Concentration Camp Memorial ideas competition, in and around what had been the commandant’s house. Rex Proctor supported the bid by providing an in-depth cost analysis, which was a key part of the brief requirements.
While Sachsenburg is not a well-known site its role as a prototype for later camps is significant. With this in mind the design evolved around an aggressive, sculpted tree thrusting up through the shell of the house hidden from outside view. Around and through which weaves a series of walkways rising past the jagged branches to a viewing platform overlooking the site of the main camp. By limiting natural light entering the space a dramatic pattern of harsh shadows is created, redolent of expressionist cinema: imagery that evokes this truly nightmarish period of German history.
Highly Creative Minds’ Balcony Garden proposal in Lambeth is intended to activate and enliven its setting replacing what is currently a pleasantly green but under-utilised, and many would even say unusable, space.
The new garden area combines interest with accessibility and activity with adaptability, but above all is an environment to bring people together in a space where they feel comfortable and safe.
At the heart of the design is an evocation of the wrought ironwork that was once a staple of London’s streetscape, indeed, the houses on the adjoining Holmewood Garden Estate all had neat iron railings and gates, much of which disappeared in wartime recycling efforts. This language is then used throughout the space to generate its character and story: seating spaces styled after comfortable balconies; flower and herb gardens for scent and colour; play areas; spots for pop-up F&B traders; and quiet seating to suit all needs. A real community garden for a real community.
HCM’s master plan for the Crook Point Bascule bridge in Providence, Rhode Island.A sweeping organic roof rolls across the adjoining landward plots, its walkable landscaped structure enclosing a series of community functions such as a farmers’ market hall, workshops, a library and greenhouses collectively known as the ‘Literary Line’. The latter taking its cue from the graffiti that famously covers the old railway bridge.Beyond this the newly covered bridge provides protection for pop-ups and events as well as offering new links down to the Seekonk River. Then at the very end of line, beneath the elevated, historic bridge structure itself a refurbished railway dining car cantilevers over the end of the bridge the setting for “The Pullman Falls Café” on a journey to nowhere.
Railway stations have become cultural icons, from grand termini – the Cathedrals of Steam – to the country halts of literary classics like the Railway Children. Partly this stems from their longevity and partly the ubiquitous place they have in our day-to-day lives; however, it also derives from distinctive and confident architectural styling. Sadly, much subsequent station construction – notable exceptions like King’s Cross aside – has been lacklustre: rooms to move through not somewhere that will conjure a future memory or evoke positive emotions.
We may, at long last, be in sight of a post-Covid world but perhaps the lock-down period, where our lives were dramatically curtailed, provided us with the necessary time to reflect on the challenges of climate change and the actions that generate our individual carbon footprints. Even when this pandemic is over, we should all learn to live with less.
It is unlikely that we will be able to consume and travel as much as we have done if we want to protect ourselves and our planet.
Prepared for the Antepavilion charity /Architectural Foundation’s annual design competition, this year seeking ideas for a floating installation on a series of ex-military pontoons.
Message in a Bottle sought to create a community workspace shaped like a giant floating wine bottle. Alas, a sight too often seen in our canals and waterways as discarded rubbish: a key part of our message was to highlight the need to clean and enhance our waterway heritage as a strong green resource for our inner cities.
No one-size-fits-all in housing: we tried this with the doomed International Style exported by Corbusier and others only to see sub-standard imitations de-humanise too many cities.
All cities have a unique grid, pattern, language and character and their housing should be tailored from the cloth of that identity. For this study I took Glasgow as my model a city famous for its tenements and for the mis-guided 1950s destruction of its heart and soul by well-meaning but insensitive planners. Wrecking balls tore down the classical inspired tenements of architects like Greek Thompson, replacing them with the soul-less brutalism of high-rise flats. Surely, we missed a step in between of creating proper homes set in identifiable communities.
Installtion For the RIBA gallery on the theme of Power
One day Atlas called a meeting with the Gods and complained that earth was getting too hot to handle and he wanted to expel it from the celestial sphere.
An emergency meeting was called and deities came from far and wide, from Mount Olympus, Asgard and beyond; they gathered around Zeus’s table and a plan of action was hatched.
Alongside Atlas Poseidon was equally fed up with all the rubbish dumped into the sea and he too wanted to sea change.