BE+LAB PERTH HOUSE: Bemerton + Central St Martins
Have you been wondering who the young people with clipboards and cameras are photographing and sketching around your estate over the last nine months? Well those odd students are us! We are your neighbours down at Central Saint Martins in the Granary Building, Kings Cross and this year our final Architecture projects have been situated in and around the Bemerton. We have been looking specifically at local issues and potentials and generating a collaborative response from these. It has been really exciting to learn about your community as our design approach stems from the belief that social understanding and local knowledge forms the framework of a successful design. To give you an idea of what we have been doing here are some of our favourite examples of this years work:
PARTICIPATION VS. GENTRIFICATION
An investigation into the regeneration and gentrification processes resulting from the close proximity of the King’s Cross redevelopment to the Cally area. As some of the local inhabitants and businesses are being displaced, the dissertation focuses on participatory design as a tool for resistance, exploring through local research and personal experience how residents and students may work within a community to empower it and generate resistance to gentrification.
OPEN COLLEGE NETWORK
Addressing youth unemployment the architectural proposal aims to support the creation of an Open College Network based on the technical apprenticeship.
THE CONDENSED LANDSCAPES OF BEMERTON
A therapeutical center providing a place for the elderly community to meet, socialize, relax, exchange knowledge and learn about complementary and alternative medicine. It is divided into a series of pavilions and courtyards, indoor and outdoor spaces with specific qualities and aims at making a person’s health thrive with natural means in a non institutional environment.
Since graduating a group of us have stayed to set up the BE+ Lab at the base of Perth House, we are working in collaboration with the Bemerton TMO to design the East-West Link, a vibrant connection between the new King’s Cross development and the Caledonian Road. We will be there every week day from 10 – 4. One of our key aims is to create a studio which is open to continuous community input while we create your designs, so PLEASE feel free to drop by. In April we held a consultation on the estate during which we listened to your ideas and experiences about what could make this connection work and the changes you would like to see in the future. Over the coming weeks we will be hosting events featuring activities for us to get to know you better.
This is a learning process for us as young designers through which we hope to lay the foundations for a long-term exchange between the university and the estate so that we can learn from each other. We hope to gain experience working within the local community so that we may better understand who we are designing for, in the process we hope to collaboratively design a fantastic link with you that when complete really belongs to you.