The theme of the unit has been heavily centered around the seemingly contradictory typologies of both the cinema and the theatre, and on how such an introverted programme, can in contradiction, form an architectural language of civic generosity. The nature of the ruin and the theoretical underpinnings of cinema informed the early readings of the students into the potential of a critical engagement into Margate’s underlying political and social ills.
The subsequent Primer Project tasked students to design a small-scale, public cinema room or performance space that was to purposefully act as a generous offering to the town. The objective was to deliver a single room of intense interiority in and around a dilapidated, existing promenade structure of intense exteriority. Purposefully double-sided, the students sought to reinvent the now idle relics of Victorian tourism, reconfiguring their programme in support of the wider community. The objective being, to express architecturally and tectonically the potential of performance, and to give form to the burgeoning subcultures that have always been nurtured at the periphery of the Isle of Thanet.
The surveying activities of the field trip supported both the Primer Project and the subsequent Final Project. We visited local community groups, political activists and charity organisations across the area, and toured an abundance of theatrical and cinematic venues throughout both Margate and Cliftonville. The Grange in Ramsgate by Augustus Pugin acted as the culmination of our exploration of Thanet.
The Final Project built upon these themes and explored contradictory, dual public programs that were investigated individually by the student concerned. Students formed an architectural thesis, that was then tested through a self-formed brief for a large-scale civic building. The interventions were located across a range of sites in Cliftonville, and were to act as purposefully antagonistic civic interventions. The work is sited at the interface of the regenerative, and arguably superficial, policies of Margate’s Old Town, and the fertile contradictions of the neighboring Cliftonville.
UNIT TRIP TO MARGATE