Continuity in Architecture, an atelier that I chose at the beginning of this year, is set to explore the notion of context and contextualism, considering architecture through the research of the urban environment. Aligning with my personal stance on the design process, the atelier uses tangible and untangible findings of the context analysis to help understand the meaning and inform the construction of new elements, ones that add to the continuous evolution and uniqueness of a place.
This year we were working in collaboration with Shrewsbury Town Council and Shropshire Council on a site located between the old town walls and the loop of the River Severn, on the edge of a 29-acre parkland named ''The Quarry''. My project directly responds to the Council's ambition to relocate their offices and the Library from their current location in a building that was formally Shrewsbury School.
Forming a series of new urban landscapes (square, palazzo, and courtyard), my library complex deliberately responds to the adjacent architecture, particularly to the rounded back of St. Chad’s Church. Context is also the primary influence on the library’s name: The Crown. It is a reference to the triangularly shaped, copper framed skylights sitting on both of the new buildings and illuminating the park at darker hours. The shape of the skylights derives from the rooftop of the adjacent apartment building and the Tudor style lodge that serves the function of a book shop now.
All in all, the library's program responds to every age group and is disability friendly; its design is inviting, inclusive, and playfully reflects one of the main design themes - curiosity. It is a place that fosters culture in its broader sense. Correspondingly, I believe that successful architecture is made by weaving together buildings, landscapes, and people into a long-lasting, functioning environment.