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Natural Integration

Part 2 Project 2022
Howard Thomas Kent
Leeds Beckett University | UK
Natural integration aims to create physical and metaphysical palimpsests - collapsing the binary opposition between built form and nature. Questioning our relationship to each.

The programme addressed a persistent societal problem – trafficking of unwilling women into Buenos Aires. Research summarised by a series of characters, defines programmatic function. The creation of characters aids in both a narrative and commemorates an obscure group of Polish women who had been falsely promised a new life in 20th century Argentina.

Alongside biophilia, hidden spaces for mental, psychological, and economic rehabilitation; offer 21st century victims the ability to be empowered.

A decaying 19th century prison, already the hosting natural intrusions, redeveloped for a nature driven programme, blurring the lines between architecture and nature. Cultivated grass roots are turned into a material which is expressed within the Willow Grove.

Willow Grove allows inhabitants to interject (wo)manmade unprogrammed spaces. Over time, as trees grow, distortion result in misalignments of the building’s permanent elements and the Grove’s growing ones. Tensions in this interstitial, metaphorically transitional, space forces reconfigurations.

The project doesn’t control nature, as its inhabitants have been, but utilise it as the vehicle to provide holistic empowerment for marginalised women - past, present, and future.

Howard Thomas Kent


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