We recently submitted a design proposal to the ‘Remnants’ Reflecting Wales Exhibition for a floating Cafe/ Bar, positioned along the river Taff in Cardiff.
The following post discusses the research and development of an idea. It also outlines a process that seeks to explore possible authentic relationships between an object and its place.
Eating, dining, relaxing – a simple affair… yet these human activities and rituals have the potential to transform an otherwise forgotten river into a meaningful sociable space for people to dwell among water, earth and sky.
As the Remnants website explains “Design Circle’s Reflecting Wales Exhibition 2011 displays selected entries from the Remnants design competition and highlights their place in the city. The competition reveals the unknown spaces of Cardiff – spaces that fall into the gaps between planning policy and the practice of everyday life: the remnants. The aim of this year’s Reflecting Wales Competition and Exhibition is to uncover the remnant sites of Cardiff and explore how they can be regenerated through urban intervention”.
A sketchbook of developmental ideas is torn apart and laid out, enabling us to see a process and discussion that looks at ways to displace water and create ‘space’ to inhabit from this void.
The design evolves from a floating plane of recycled industrial steel reclaimed from Cardiff docks nearby. The sunken seating area provides the required depression within the river.
Absence of ‘matter’ creates space and allows the object to float. The vertical steel sides of the hull forms the seating area and folds outwards to provide a perimeter walkway in tension with the waterline. A centrally positioned service core provides a natural separation between formal & informal dining.
A visit to areas of abandoned docks nearby showed a language of concrete and steel mechanisms rusting in the rain. In search for a similar solution and inspired by such efficiency and clarity, the idea of Kinematics was then applied to the language of the roof.
Shelter is provided by a tensile translucent fabric – stretched over a lightweight timber frame resting on steel rails. The amount of shelter provided can be controlled by a series of carefully crafted bronze wheels that run along the length of the primary structure ring-beam. This creates a white elegant fabric that appears to float over the entire platform providing a counterpoint to the steel core. The terminating sky frame captures an outdoor performance space reinforcing a confident linear form that sits in harmony with the horizontal banks of the River Taff.
The diagrams below investigate and make explicit specific themes and concepts contained within the plan.
A search for meaning in the way in which something is made and constructed, reinforcing the central idea. Creating two distinct atmospheres by dissecting a simple volume with a core that contains function.
The whole venture would be situated on a floating platform moored on the River Taff between the Canton Bridge and the Millennium Footbridge. We aim to float our idea to coincide with the launch of Cardiff as Europe’s largest Contemporary Art & Sculpture Gallery space in 2012, indeed we propose that MOOR becomes this ground-breaking initiative’s home base. International contemporary art and sculpture alongside contemporary and progressive architecture…