Architecture - Honours

Chamber of Pellucidity

The aim of the buildings design is to create vast levels of improvement in communication and transparency between the government, both elected and opposition and the people in which it represents. Furthermore creating greater education for the people to allow for a well educated and better informed voter population.

Design background

The main concept of the design was to grow the building from a humble flower. The client wanted a building that was growing out from the ground so taking the idea of the flower bursting through the ground with the petals branching out from the stigma in the centre became the driving force behind the design. This vision was fuelled by the floor program of the Cite de la Musique in the Parc de la Villette in Paris. The central stigma is represented by the frosted glazing of the speakers dome giving a sense of a faceted diamond. Two buildings either side then grow out from the dome creating the flowers petals bursting out from within. In order to create the sombre feel of the lower floors as required by the client while also extending the concept of transparency the idea of creating a facade which opens up to the glazing as the building rises out of the ground. This idea not only helps to create a dark and sombre lower floors with bright well lit upper levels, but also creates the illusion of transparency in democracy breaking through the dark shackles of hidden government agendas and corruption, producing a democracy that is transparent not just to itself but across to the greater public it represents.

Structurally both buildings feature a series of large concrete columns that rise up in a tree like manner enhancing the flower design concept while also highlighting the buildings strong and sturdy footings similar to the strong and sturdy foundations of a democratic government. These tree like structures further create focal points through the building enhancing the experience had by the users.

A Kaleidoscope Experience

Extensive use of artificial coloured lighting throughout the landscaping and building interiors gives the building a unique user experience at night times. Around the circumference of the frosted glass of the speakers dome more coloured lighting is used to beam out from the glass giving a rippled kaleidoscope affect with the colour. While these lights are only active during the night time it does attract more people to use the facilities at all hours as the array of colours creates a beacon affect attracting people towards the site during the night.

Columns of Life

Using tree trunks and the overarching design concept of a flower as the inspiration the reinforced concrete columns were created with an upwards curve and built in a series of 4 to create the appearance of a tree. The growth of the sturdy tree emulates the growth in transparency of the government systems and the growth in communication between MPs and the people of the constituencies. Furthermore the strength in a democratic system starts from the bottom and grows upwards similar to that of the buildings tree columns, bursting from the ground creating a strong building.

Transparency Throughout

A key part of the building and its concept was to create transparency throughout as a way to influence and encourage greater pellucidity within government. As visible in this image, while stood on the top floor of the Exhibition building there are visible viewpoints across the site towards the education pavilion and down to the lower floors of the Exhibition building. The top floor plate is set back from the exterior wall in order to create a a constant viewpoint through all levels of the building and out across the buildings greater site.

James Stevens

James has fostered a passion for all things travel with many adventures including travel across Europe. This passion has given James great respect for history and the stories told through design. James looks to incorporate passive design strategies and combine the old with the new to honour this respect.