I am currently a final year architecture student from Scotland. After studying and receiving a Bachelors Degree from the University of Dundee I transferred to the Glasgow School of Art to complete my studies. During my Part 1 placement I worked for Lorn Macneal Architects based in Edinburgh New Town. During my final year thesis I became particularly interested in the themes of migration and displacement.
My current research explores and aims to understand the various stages of the journey of migrant populations arriving in Belgium and Antwerp.
Antwerp can be described as a patchwork city, not just architecturally but also culturally. This mixture of cultures and nationalities provides a diverse “melting pot”. The proposal intends to integrate migrant communities into the existing fabric of the city using skills and experiences they already posses through the sharing of experience. The concept of narrative is of fundamental importance to share migration experiences with the community to develop interaction and fundamentally integration. By focusing on the value of experience and culture secondary skills which facilitate integration, are seen a natural outcome of the process. The theme of “sharing a migration experience” is facilitated through the sharing of experience and “stories” through theater, and the sharing of culture through food in the form of a restaurant and also a cookery school were locals can experience different cuisines. The chosen site aims acts as a “hinge” between the various neighborhoods and enables a connection to these districts. These connections will be strengthened by the use of landscaping to create routes as well as water connections.
The architectural forms of the primary countries of origin have been researched and subtle references have been incorporated into the design. Courtyards are used to provide a degree of privacy in an external space with cloisters to reference religious architecture as well as providing shelter from the elements. The “layering” of the facade can be seen with the inclusion of the cloisters around the courtyard which provide shelter from the elements as well as picking up of cultural architectural references. Brick screens are used to allow a degree of privacy whilst allowing light to enter. The use of screens references middle eastern architecture whilst brick being “the material” of Antwerp – represents the merging of two cultures.
The element of Water is fundamental in the historical development of Antwerp and can be seen as a symbol of migration, able to transport people. Referencing the water cycle, water can be used to thermally control spaces by the means of evaporation, condensation, thermal mass and so on. Understanding the significance and symbolism of water
in different cultures and religions is of fundamental importance. Expressing that water is something which we all share a relationship with-which manifests in different ways. Reflecting the idea of a journey in the integration of water within the design and incorporating different “components” that form an overall water cycle.