Architecture & Social Agency
A resilient future for Saint Canice by reconsidering ‘waste’.
We live in a society where abundance is now seen as normal. An obsession with the new and an attitude that anything that is broken or not quite right should be thrown away. Items are defined by a specified purpose and we have an instinct to turn our backs on the ‘blemish’.
There is a gathering realisation of the environmental benefits of long-term use over the throw away culture of ever shorter life cycles. At Saint Canice, an existing centre of community supporting outreach programs aimed to assist the less advantaged, the disparities between those that have so much and those with so little is immediately apparent and the need to more evenly distribute and care for resources clear. I envision St. Canice as a place of resilience and adaptability by adjusting attitudes to waste.
My project stemmed out of three key aspects with a focus on re-use and renewal; the building itself, people and food. The focus to create an adaptable form with longevity, using considered materials which functions as a community centre with assisted living where nature’s life processes are exposed. From the growth and sale of food which doesn’t have to comply to perfection to the natural aging process of materials and people.
Yet detail was very important to me for while I wanted the building to look to both the past and the future it belongs to the current user. Consideration has been given to how tactile and experiential qualities of spaces allow a sense of scale and belonging. To design a building is to create something of permanence. An architectural vision that will be subjected to change once it has been made reality. For time leaves indelible traces, it reflects the multiple touches of users as well as the marks of the passing seasons. Developing a ‘patina’ of use by allowing beauty in embracing the blemish.