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MediaCity-VerticalDiscovery (MC-VD)

Part 2 Project 2009
Selvei Al-Assadi
London South Bank University | UK
Less of a new building type than a kind of architectural fungus spreading across the roofs and walls of the city…a tower of cross communication…

Media City-Vertical Discovery is a critique of media obsession with London’s West End, and the political influence this has on news and broadcasting. Previously, news was delivered once a day on a black and white box. Inundated now with many distinct methods, visuals are the most undemanding means of communication. Nevertheless, the more easily we take in information, the greater media success and profit has developed from covering celebrities in an over-exposed/glamorised celebrity culture. MediaCity-VerticalDiscovery sets to change our obsession with this culture.

MC-VD will be the best environment in which to create, manipulate, and distribute content. Underpinned by an advanced communications platform and edgy new facilities, it features Europe’s largest HD studios, and combines the entire process of TV making in a loop of interconnected activities. The structures rise from a common production platform that is partly underground, each level with a different character dedicated to broadcasting, to services, research, education, etc.
The European city runs the risk of becoming a discontinued model. It is essential such cities redefine their functions and roles by adapting to a complex territorial system combining political representation, cultural consumption, tourism, education, and leisure.

This project then derives from meticulous exploration of site and city usage. The environment of London’s Leicester Square was used as principal investigative tool, and the site for the design project. The first task was to define a brief, and the second to form find means to change the spatial skyline of this well known and most visited location – a celebrated place, but one light on architectural qualities.

The design of MC-VD was generated by examination of fields of use in Leicester Square. The 24/7 movement, function, and role of users were analysed through 2D and data collection, then fed through Voronoi scripting to generate the skeletal accumulation. MC-VD clusters around this complex core, celebrating the square as a place in which news and views can be generated, debated, and dissected.

Selvei Al-Assadi

MediaCity-VerticalDiscovery (MC-VD) typifies Selvei’s approach to design. She works in a methodical and highly inquisitive way, identifying and interrogating, and occasionally obsessing over, the many data streams each project offers her. In a less critical student, this process could overwhelm the demand to develop architecture. With Selvei, the knowledge that the data isn’t so special if it can’t be subjected to serious architectural synthesis, is what made her work on this hypermedia centre special. At no point was there any sense that the beautiful sequences of preparatory, analytical drawings and models were ever going to stall short of a very lovely building. The use of 3D physical models to test and question propositions was consistently strong.

Her particular ability is to generate a brief from contextual need, understanding the city as a mechanism and source of information. She uses data to address both function and design aesthetics, guided by a need to innovate and invent. There is however simplicity as well as complexity at work in this project; Selvei is very clear when each needs expression.

There was never the slightest doubt either that the programme would be idle or indistinct. Questioning the values of celebrity culture in the C-list epicentre of Leicester Square is really exciting - and suggesting that the viewer can have a say in the way the media reports everything from the crucial to the trivial is actually very radical. We are now so used to political criticism and debate being heavily managed; the UK does this quite elegantly but entirely ruthlessly, and it means not much gets through those broadcasting filters.

By contrast, MC-VD suggests there can be such a thing as real news. The fact that it does it in architecture with authentic structural, spatial, and sensual quality is the best proof that beautifully designed buildings can have a potentially fundamental effect on the development of the city and its social ordering.

Lilly Kudic

Ms Lilly Kudic
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