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Future Bionetworks: Architecture and Ecology in Poole

Curated by Elena Trotman, Daria Turska, Kira Bennett and Channa Vithana

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A BA (Hons) Architecture and Master of Architecture (MArch) Collaborative Project and Exhibition

Date: Exhibition postponed - new dates to be confirmed. Please check out our social media channels for Gallery news and activity.

Upper Gallery, Main Gallery, North Building

MAP presents Future Bionetworks: Architecture and Ecology in Poole an exhibition at TheGallery curated through a collaboration between Undergraduate and Postgraduate Architecture students and The Power House.

Since 2011, through MAP Exhibitions (originally, Music Architecture Poole), the work of our Architecture students is consulted with, presented to and valued by, the general public, planners, architects and local and national politicians. More recently, the students engage with local stakeholders like The Power House as live project clients. Their work shows alternative ways of successfully engaging architecture within a variety of contexts from urban to rural, along coastlines and landforms surrounded by water.

Future Bionetworks

A bionetwork has the potential to contain human and non-human ecosystems together rather than these operating separately in tension. Future bionetworks are projections looking forward in time into possibilities of how human and non-human can coexist more harmoniously with a focus on sustainable long-term development of communities, ecologies and clean environments.

Meet the Curators

  • Elena Trotman and Daria Turska - Final year students on BA (Hons) Architecture
  • Kira Bennett - Second year student Master of Architecture
  • Channa Vithana - Senior Lecturer on BA (Hons) Architecture

The BA students worked with The Power House who are a registered charity. The Power House focus their work and research on the large-scale old power station site near Rigler Road which is situated between Poole and Hamworthy and connects via the Twin Sails Bridge.

In their second year, students looked at designing for future communities and many of the projects try to harmonise the connection with natural habitats and architecture for people to live, work and enjoy. All the work for this project was completed during the first lockdown of the 2020 pandemic.

Elena Trotman, BA (Hons) Architecture, writes: "Future Scenarios: Over its history, Poole has undergone several key developments within the town; from its heavily used harbour, to the modernising of its high street, up until now with the exciting potential to develop the historic Poole power station site. Since its demolition in 1994, the large contaminated site has been left empty and overgrown. This aspect of the exhibition showcases a series of second-year development concepts, each determining a suitable ‘Future Scenario’ for the site, with emphasis on community engagement and ecological solutions. Throughout the project, the students each produced a series of urban and site analyses, investigating what they considered current issues and areas of improvement within the site. These studies initiated architectural propositions to issues such as rising sea levels and ecological influences, with community-based designs.

Poole power station Site Research: Research was conducted variously with The Power House, BCP Council, Edwards Covell Architects (ECA), another local stakeholder and charitable trust, Poole Quays Forum and the second-year students. The resultant work enables concepts for the Poole power station site, focusing on the need to bring the communities of Poole and Hamworthy together. Within the project, the second-year students produced a series of site analysis maps to help accumulate information from the site. The students and The Power House also focused on a collection of architectural precedent studies, looking into community projects, youth and education centres, and landscape-based projects. This initial research work was developed into plan and perspective sketches, in order to create an improved multi-use new locale."

For her two-year Master in Architecture studies, MArch student Kira Bennett works on analysing the ecosystems around Holes Bay in Poole which wraps around the old power station site. She proposes a Post Urban Architecture with more natural systems of biodiversity with plants, landforms, water, wildlife and humans.

Kira Bennet writes: "Nature is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history – and the rate of species extinctions is accelerating with grave impacts on people and the world now likely (IPBES, 2020)."

With an awareness towards the current ecological crisis and global issues of loss of biodiversity, this research explores the ongoing impact of urban development and human activity on the natural world, exploring how architecture itself can act as a platform to support local ecological networks, whilst reconnecting people with nature. Through the language of drawing and painting, this project takes you on an illustrative journey into a potential future, where people and nature live once again in a sustainable state of harmony.

Holes Bay (Poole Harbour, UK) will act as the main case study for this body of work, as it ‘represents in microcosm the world-wide tensions between environment and development’ (Poole Harbour Study Group, 2020). By observing how urban development and human activity has impacted the area, highlighting issues regarding wildlife population decline, pollution alongside habitat loss and fragmentation, we can explore how architectural interventions can serve to address these ecological issues, whilst blurring the boundary between people, architecture and nature.

The theoretical context within this research is from sumi-e, a Japanese style of ink wash painting that evokes a deeper connection to nature, through the experience of the art. The concepts and techniques found within this painting style will be tested and applied to the architectural design process, in order to create an interconnected relationship with nature through the architectural experience; thus, helping to restore our human relationship with the Earth and allowing nature the space it needs to flourish once more.

Something to think about

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