Architecture & Social Agency
What does it mean to design for people?
What makes people connect and identify themselves with a place?
These are the questions that particularly concerned me when approaching the St Canice project. At St Canice I soon realized that it is a very distinct and special place, a fascinating place that welcomes people from all walks of life. The people may have different purposes and involvements with the place; however, there is something about St Canice that connects them with each other and with the place. Through my interaction with St Canice, I found it is this certain set of patterns of events happening days in days out that gradually create the culture and the identity of St Canice. I felt strongly for this connection between the place and its people and decided that it is imperative to keep these patterns at the centre of my scheme. As the project developed further, I realized that the pattern is not only in the people and the daily activities of St Canice but also presents in the place, particularly the church. I tried to develop my scheme from and around these patterns I have seen at the place and woven them in with the new interventions so that the existing life of the place and its people is not disturbed but enhance and flourish. Each of the buildings and theirs outdoor space is designed with the people and how they would carry out their patterns in mind. There are also many little pockets floating around for those who seek quiet contemplation. In a place that is so communal and public, I believe such small spaces helps the people grow a more intimate and personal bond with the place.
The new spaces are not meant to inspire awe or curiosity but simply set a better stage for the activities to happen. The buildings got their forms from the reminiscent arches of the church, which is a pattern of St Canice, but, other than that content to be a white canvas that the life of St Canice with its many shades and texture reflects upon.