Marina and Elina win AJ Student Prize / by Craig Heap

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Congratulations to Holmes Miller Architectural Assistants Marina and Elina on the news that their Postgraduate work at University of Strathclyde has been recognised with the AJ Student Prize 2018.

One juror said: ‘[The project] demonstrates the power of creative collaboration and offers a refreshing departure from the starchitect-manufacturing pedagogies that are inclined to over-emphasise the importance of individual portfolio projects.

’Their scheme offers a sensitive and reserved approach to a well-renowned site. The proposed palette and programme reflect that of the scheme’s context, and the people-centred agenda responds to urgent concerns about the future of truly public buildings.’

Link to AJ article

Project Abstract 

Studying the interwoven states of time, memory and space in the context of a territorial realm, Glasgow city becomes an urban canvas, where hidden narratives begin to unfold. Investigating the origins of a place, under a wider frame of reference, aids in understanding the city’s spatial, cultural, political and social development over the past centuries, as well as identifying prominent features or events that got buried under the rapid pace of urbanization. This thesis is an attempt to generate a precedent for a local cultural forum, that triggers the sense of cultural belonging. The city transforms into a palimpsest where citizens perceive present as a collective experience by unravelling the city’s shared pasts while simultaneously generating vision for the city’s future prospects. The exploration of all three states of time as interwoven realities, is expressed through a series of civic structures that seek to empower collective identity through the trading of ideas and public consolidation.

Project Description

Situated in the heart of Glasgow, Synchroni[city] is an attempt to give form to a cultural quarter for the public . Occupying the site where once the College Good Yard stood its typological orientation conveys a restored interpretation to the function of the market, transforming it from the trade of goods to the exchange of ideas. With its emergence it seeks to revive a version of the classical Agora, a public place of concentrated cultural activity and social encounter.  

The quarter is  composed of three main structures, each one reflecting a temporal state of society – past, present and future – through the acts of recollection, reflection and public consolidation. The structure of remembrance, takes the form of an archive of the lost city, containing records of the city’s past that got lost as the city expanded. From physical elements (e.g. the Molendinar burn) to states of societal uprise (e.g. Red Clydeside, Suffragettes, trade and slavery) it restores the public memory of the city. The second object of study is a vessel of public reflection. The hall of hidden narratives rises as a mirror of the city’s terrain assembled in brick and exhibits the product of remembrance in tangible form. It is a symbol of materialization of expressive intuition in the form of public art. Proceeding to the final section the spatial sequence concludes with the peoples’ forum. It is a place for public deliberation taking the merged form of an auditorium and an arcade. A modern cathedral that enables social interaction through the stages of observation on the dialectics of present reality, debate and future contemplation. All the structures are connected through a central amphitheatre and signify the interwoven states of memory and social evolution. The synthesis itself was designed to form a precedent for a local quarter that would be situated in every county of Scotland, with the prospect of their interconnection, ensuing that social structure is established under a system that transcends from the citizen, to its local region, to the greater nation. 

Marina Konstantopoulou & Elina Giannoulaki