It was supposed to stand for hundreds of years, but alas, my fortress lasted less than a week before being torn to shreds on Wednesday. Despite being a very functional form for the idea of a ‘stronghold’, it was agreed that the fortress would not provide comfortable space for the inhabitants to dwell. For the environmentally-conscious, a more organic context would make more sense.

I agreed with this change initially, as it seemed to fit with my original vision of an organic, cave-like structure, removing the need for the bold street presence, which in hindsight was a misdirection. However, through trial, I have come to disagree that a form based on tree patterns is the direction of my project. I have been attempting it for the past week, as I believe it is healthy to actually start building models, rather than staring at a blank page, trying to conceive a design from thin air, but realise now that I should not have been convinced so easily. I tried to argue that the inhabitants of the building would crave security that this design could not provide, but sacrificed this principle far too easily, to make way for Robert’s own design preference.

In order to get my project back on track, I have two options prior to the interim review on Thursday (10th March): either create a pseudo-organic form from the trees to satisfy Robert and save face when presenting, or design something boring using conventional design techniques (i.e. drawing plans and section on sketch roll). Either way, first I must develop a better understanding of the requirements of the project – what must the building provide in terms of facilities, function and atmosphere.

Firstly, the building will provide an alternative lifestyle for all those who feel detached from society. It will promote a self-sustained, eco-friendly system for living, where newcomers and experts alike will be allowed to practice a way of off-grid living. Unlike the traditional system, however, inhabitants are voluntary prisoners and free to leave whenever they wish.

The inhabitants should feel at home in the building. They should feel comfortable to roam the estate and access any shared space at any time. However, the building will feel like a small, close-knit community, causing the inhabitants to sacrifice a degree of privacy. It is important that each inhabitant has access to their own unique space for solitary dwelling, which is pivotal for people who have become accustomed to being alone.

The extended facility list is as follows:

  • Entrance Hall
  • The Great Hall (and attached kitchen)
  • Courtyard
  • Dormitories
  • Library
  • Prep space
  • Lounge
  • Observation Tower
  • Fields for pasture

I am still excited about the project – the idea of this building still really excites me and there are so many aspects of this project I am yet to delve into. The most important task at this point is to develop the design quickly at this early stage, in order to efficiently understand the more complex details. Despite the temptation, I must avoid creating work with the single intention of satisfying the expectations of the tutors.



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