Dramatic communication and reinterpretation of history is needed when redefining architectural and artistic relationships in design. The Contentious heritage strand of Continuity in Architecture addresses the negative histories of the built environment and focuses on how we can incorporate those histories in the development of a new design. Encouraged by this, I chose to base my thesis on the representation of foreign identities in Manchester’s urban fabric after looking into the issues surrounding institutional discrimination of “foreign” bodies in Manchester. After researching stories of minority communities in Manchester, I chose base my project around Manchester’s Italian community due to their positive integration into Manchester in the late 1800’s, the clear discrimination they felt during the war (forced internment of innocent citizens because of an action outside of their control), and the devolution of the community since. The rich architectural composition of Manchester’s Aytoun street was selected for experimentation. It was concluded that communication and education are necessary components in understanding the extent of British heritage and history. This was translated into architectural spaces through drawing, painting, and stitching. Through this process, a collection of buildings emerged.
This thesis project comments on the importance of memorialising tragedy, educating others about the negative aspects of history, and the importance of using that education to move forward.