Thesis student Stephanie Agar’s project, Equus, is a finalist in the international competition held by Young Architects Competitions (YAC). Her project will be transmitted to architectural magazines and websites and will be hosted in international exhibitions. 

Equus Project Description: 

The foundation of the built world has long been acknowledged to be based on ergonomics and the study of the human scale. Architects have the potential to use design to manifest a platform that enhances not only a humans experience, but an animal’s, plant’s, and organic material’s experience as well. The proposal asks what would happen to our design and architecture if we shift the perspective towards animals and their natural habitat, well-being and social interactions? An amalgamation of the horse, the site and the client/owner’s requirements will be attempted. This project aims to propose a safe, healthy, “happy” project for the existing ruins and site of a castle in France, for the horses, the owners and the visitors. Essentially, incorporating a holistic design as a project of therapy for the horses, humans and the ruins. 

Individually, the horse and human each have potential strengths, together they unleash a powerful dynamic. The proposed project will acknowledge this, providing individual accommodation spaces for the species, joined spaces for bonding, and zones in between. Architectural strategies include orientating and manipulating the site to create an advantageous design. This may be through burming the earth against the perimeter of the architecture to conceal it within the landscape, working with prevailing winds, or understanding the sun exposure. The strategy focuses on the scale of the project, as it could easily get out of hand and take over the entire site or be confined into a space and cause claustrophobia. The  scale of the site, a human and his/her limitations, and most importantly the horse are all contributing factors.  

Water is symbolic to the rich agriculture that the site is surrounded by. The existing band of water severing through the middle of the site acts as a central axis to the existing ruins. The design proposes an extension of this prominent feature by threading water through the castle and proposed additions. The manipulated landscape and the perforated trails within it guide visitors through the entire site as they embark on their journey. At first glance, the steep inclines in the landscape hide the embedded architecture. This allows for a romanticized view of the ruins, from any position on the site. Yet, the trails are still accessible to all thanks to the equestrian program on the site. As a  growing method of wellness, hippo-therapy is a type of treatment that involve humans forming a healing connection with a horse. The person can vary from at risk youth, autistic children, brave veterans, PTSD, paralysis, prisoners and addicts. From success stories, with almost instantaneous results compared to traditional therapy, hippo-therapy facilities spread across the world. 

The architecture does not take away from the existing, it compliments it and provides further potential for organic growth. For example,  the mesh trails are provided purely for framework during floods, grass and ivy vegetation are able to grow through it. In the courtyard of the ruins one is able to see hanging ivy growing intricately through the suspended mesh bridges. The project focuses on creating a site that gives way to nature.

Read more here.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019 in , , ,
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