The [Re]Construction Museum

Maream Merza
University of the West of England, Faculty of the Built Environment, Frenchay Campus, Bristol
United Kingdom

Project idea

The [Re] Construction Museum looks at setting up a new community, in a Heritage Grade I Listed site that has been abandoned. St. Paul's church has slowly disappeared and is no longer the centre of community, nor able to provide the help needed nowadays. Through material craftsmanship and traditional brick making, the new building will pay homage to the church whilst benefiting the community in this contemporary world, and acting as a ground to practice skills necessary for the construction industry. The [Re]Construction Museum looks at using the materials on the heritage site to design a building that is community built with material manipulation being the inspiration towards creating a schedule of accommodation that accommodates workshops which allow people to explore traditional ways of making, display the work produced and make profit. The scheme will offer temporary accommodation in exchange for growing one's skills in material manipulation which provides many career paths such as the construction industry and will work in line with the council until the occupiers gain their own independence like the rest of the people in society and reintegrate back to it. Introduced as the new pillar of the community, The [Re]Construction Museum challenges its current status as a Grade I Listed heritage site and argues that reclaiming ownership of the design by having the local community contribute to constructing the building in the contemporary world is a way of preserving the heritage of the place and becoming attuned to change in the future. Infused with elements of deconstructivism, the model suggests the introduction of contemporary architecture design, using traditional design as the bases to retranslate how traditional architecture would look like in the contemporary world as the new-found pillar is the museum's chimney which pays homage to the church's spire that used to hold the community together. Architecture dies when the building stops in time, so in order for the ruin to become a monument and outlive future generations, the architecture embraces societal change and reimagines a world where transcendence and continuity are key to honest translation.

Project description

The [Re]Construction Museum consists of four floors; the bottom floor or the basement is the floor where where the users are digging materials from under the ground and using the materials and manipulating
them in workshop spaces to create what is displayed on the floors
above it.
The ground floor shows the chimney as a sculpture in and of itself that is
erupting from underneath the floor below giving a transcending into the happenings of the bottom floor. It also has the main storefront to attract visitors to the site whether that be in the cafe or local markets introduced as well as the exhibition that follows on first floor. The chimney penetrates through as if to challenge the original pillar of the community; the church.
The first and second floor encompass areas where extruded models
are shown as gallery exhibits and the scaffolding area is a continuous changing exhibit as well as the having the heritage building serve as temporary accommodation for those that need it.

Technical information

The building is designed so that its uses in a practical environment become that of a passive use as well. Several neglected methods of cooling and heating are reintroduced in the analytical sections.
- Thermal Mass is preserved and most of the heat is gained and stored in the material as the use of brick throughout most of the building allows more of the heat to be stored. In addition to that, the use of a Trombe Wall allows the heat gained from the Southwest sun to heat the building in the night of winter and allow air out in the summer.
- Stack Effect takes place when the kiln isn't in use and doesn't present itself as a hazard therefore, a natural occurence of heat travel out in the winter and coming in the summer takes place.
- One-Way Ventilation is a very traditional way of introducing ventilation. and therefore maintained in the heritage buildings that can't
be touched. As the buildings are all surrounded by an open area with no roof, it allows more opportunity for natural ventilation to occur.
- Solar gain is another natural occurence as the dominating material is brick and as a high thermal mass material, absorbs the heat well for redistribution in the night. And if that isn't enough , the use of the Tromble Wall ensures most of that heat is absorbed.
- Natural Lighting redirected mostly with the use of skylights for the art galleries and indirect entry of light with sun pipes for the workshops. The reason being to avoid glare in the working areas and gallery, except for the heritage building whose windows haven't been changed from their original sash windows.

Most of the concept of the building makes a relatively simple building yet is unpredictable in its design. The local use of materials inspire the very essence of its straight-forward yet complicated production. Building in very traditional manners trying to understand the history in that sense with loadbearing structures, the building doesn't only conform to the old but also embraces parts of the futurist architecture with more framed structures to allow for the people to build upon and take on the load.

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