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Komfort Award


Part 1 Project 2008
Aleksandrina Rizova
Kingston University Kingston | UK
Factory Joinery/ Chair-making

The site (a narrow shortcut area in-between two existing brick buildings) raised issues about dealing with existing surfaces, the current shortcut manipulation and access points’ differentiation. The notion of the route through which could become an urban room in the heart of the site informed the way the building was to be organised. The public courtyard was perceived as a void within the built mass - where glimpses to and through, and above and below created a unique dynamism of interconnected spaces. Fragmentation and hierarchy in spaces within the building was established in order to respond to the types of processes taking place - materials delivery, storage area, cutting of untreated parts, assembly of parts and drawing of joints.

The project started with exploration of an object - a hand crafted method of production. Particular interest in chair making and deck chairs (specific for Margate) led to investigation of various joints, connections between members and tools involved in the process of making a chair. Detail models making and materiality interpretation helped develop an idea about interconnected elements, light and solid, void and mass. Following the build up of a simple tool (the mallet) ways of insertion and attachment were applied in the make up of the building in later stages of the project. The notion of the factory, being a stitching element in the cultural life of Margate, in-between the residential and commercial zone in the city, was to become crucial. The idea of the urban “joint” informed the way the initial inserts into the site were composed. The concept of solid and void led to a fragmented design which leaves enough space in-between and encourages public interaction with the activities taking place inside.

Aleksandrina Rizova

Our students worked in Margate on a range of projects that aimed to show "how small-scale, locally co-ordinated projects" could regenerate a town (Guardian 12 September 2007). Students were asked to research something appropriate that could be produced in Margate and design a small scale 'factory'. Aleks chose the quintessentially seaside icon of the deckchair and designed a workshop for making and restoring them. Her site was an extremely narrow passage leading from the seaside promenade to the dilapidated High Street. Her design was inspired by analogies with the way deck chairs fold and transform themselves, shifting from a comfortable seat to something easily carried and stowed away. This approach proved very successful in producing an effective design in a very constrained space, workshops that function and are full of light at the same time as adding dramatic new incidents in the urban spaces of Margate.

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