Thursday, 31 October 2013

Storytelling: The Dressing up Box

Interim reviews have come and gone already, meaning we are half way through the project and there is only 5 weeks to go!
These are some of the pieces that I presented at Tuesday's interim.

The brief and programme of my project is centered around a market place of clothing exchange. This theme came from my initial studies of the Great Gatsby book, where I started drawing 1920s illustrations and playing with the varying textures of different fabrics to create a reading room.
The focal point of my building is essentially a large dressing up box, which links in with the theme of storytelling and fabric. This large dressing up box is also the circulation for the buildings. It's about 3 storeys high and just about pokes over the edge of the hill. There are lots of clothes and props stored inside. It drives the purpose of my building, because during the market place people come and exchange clothes, source reclaimed clothes and all unwanted and donated items go into the dressing up box.
There are also workshops in the building, which provide sewing classes to the community and school groups. This links the building back to the demolished warehouse that was on the site which belonged to the Hebden Bridge Cord Company, who sold high class tweed and cord clothing. It's interesting that these days sewing is not a skill that is taught anymore, it seems to be reserved just for those who want to become fashion designers, even though it is quite an ancient skill.
Nevertheless, the community and the in house seamstresses would take the unwanted clothes and fabric from the dressing up box and create costumes and props for plays and theatre productions that would take place. Theatre groups would come and perform as well as storytellers, who would use these clothes and props to aid them in their storytelling.

This diagram layered on my site model shows my site analysis and the circulation on the site. It is situated on the banks of a river and it is the first thing you see as you cross the Old Bridge coming in from town. There is a row of residential housing to the left and the site curves round to follow a path up to the village of Heptonstall. The site also rests against a 9m stone wall, where there is a hill and woodland on top. Across the river are a few commercial buildings and a car park. The site is predominately south facing with little shade, and has quite a busy pedestrian and car route alongside it.

This is one of my initial concept models, showing the massing of the different interior spaces, with the dressing up box circulation as the solid core of the building.
The entrance to the building is from the side of the curve on the site and the circulation on the ground floor is sort of a loop. The theatre is also designed to be quite an informal space so the market can flow into it during the day. The library and reading rooms are on the second floor, alongside the second floor of the workshop. On the last floor, as you enter through the dressing up box you walk into what is essentially an expansion of it, as there isn't enough space in the dressing up box itself. It becomes this crazy prop room that is also a cafe, and people can exit from the top into the woodland area without having to travel all the way back down the stairs.
This comes from the idea of a 1970s cartoon character called 'Mr Benn', who walked into a fancy dress shop and is told to put on a costume by the shopkeeper who then points him in the direction of a magical door, and when he comes out the other end, he finds himself in a very different world, one that belongs to the costume he is currently wearing. So in this way, I am contrasting the ordered marketplace on the ground floor, to the chaotic prop and costume cafe on the top floor.

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