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Staging the City: Message versus Meaning in Architecture

Part 2 Project 2013
Nicholas Haynes
University of Nottingham | UK
The project is born out of a research paper that established meaning (the significance or truth of something) and message (architecturally, the re-representation of an object or foregone entity) share a symbiotic relationship, where message is the flesh of a building, and meaning the skeleton. Message contextualises the meaning of architecture.

The project takes the Bishopsgate Goods Yard of Shoreditch, East London and repurposes it as a performing arts centre. Formerly the linchpin of the East-End markets, the structure has endured five decades of dereliction. This proposal envisages a variety of different stages, led by a pavilion space atop the existing structure, where the audience is able to gauge their position in society through the performance of their peers against the city backdrop, within the city fabric — thus establishing a meaningful connection between architecture and the individual; the city and society.

The treatment of the existing vaulted structure demonstrates the mechanisms that are employed to confer the relevance of the building onto its users: the inscription of a new diagonal axis in the existing building fabric; new spaces overtly reinterpret the heaviness of the existing tectonic to demonstrate progress through construction; and a topographical shift of the ground plane onto the elevated old railway deck that forms a clear threshold between the obtuse and the fragmentary underground, and a notional ‘whole-ness’ and purity above. These measures ensure Bishopsgate once more is re-established as a significant artefact in the urban fabric.

Nicholas Haynes


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