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Interpreting the Edge

Part 1 Project 2023
Bethany Kippin
University of Bath | UK
In a time where crises of people and environment are one and the same, this project explores Susannah Hagan’s suggestion that the ‘despised periphery’ is ‘potentially the place where settlement and ecosystem meet in new hybrids of mixed intensities’.

The scheme reimagines a landscape of my childhood, in Oxford’s ‘rural-urban fringe’ - the site of Littlemore Priory - as a productive and performative civic space, a prototypical Ecological Forum, using the physically marginal as a place of ecological and social empowerment. Stemming from the spatial practices of intentional communities and the makerspace movement, the Forum takes root in its place ‘in-between’: rural and urban, ecosystem and settlement, past and future, people and production. It makes a case for the integration of the experimental in our approaches to urbanism and social opportunity, reacting to current discourse on localisation and grassroots action.

A desire to challenge current norms of ‘sustainable’ construction manifests a contemporary reimagining of historic building methods, taking precedent from the existing twelfth century Priory. The result, a tectonic that engages with the site’s longstanding history and transient present condition, reflecting a narrative of reuse and resilience, of both the built object and connected ecosystem.

Bethany Kippin

Alastair Crockett
Matthew Wickens
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