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The Architecture of Walls: Defining Common Ground

Part 2 Dissertation 2020
Jade Moore
Leeds Beckett University | UK
Known as ‘The Heroin Highway’, Kensington is a neighbourhood in constant flux. With drug tourists passing in and out daily, long-time residents struggle to establish the territory as their own, leading to internal conflict.

For centuries walls have been used to define territories, allowing communities to thrive. Over time, a change in intention has resulted in society objecting to their construction. However, without the delineation of territory, people can struggle to establish a sense of belonging and ownership, often leading to rebellion and conflict. This thesis questions whether society can become reacquainted with the earlier meanings that walls possessed, ultimately encouraging engagement between neighbours.

Proposals for the ‘RIBA Beyond Borders’ competition offer a new typology that embodies this idea, challenging the current rhetoric surrounding walls. Walls for interaction, integration and engagement offer the opportunity to physically define the common ground between neighbouring territories in a positive way.

Through field research, an understanding of the multi-layered borders within Kensington are established, identifying potential spaces for intervention. The speculative, site specific application of the ‘Beyond Borders’ proposals is drawn, with the intention of helping mediate between the invisible borders that exist, encouraging the community to take ownership of the space.

Jade Moore

Doreen Bernath
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