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The Citizens Project

Y1 Department of Architecture Cambridge University


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Contents

1. The Site

2. Intervention

3. Spectacle

4. Construction

5. The Event i) Preparation

ii) Reflection

6. A Summary

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The Site

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The Cambridge Leisure Park in context

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The current atmosphere

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The underwhelming ‘main’ entrance to the square

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The size of the entrance in comparison to that of the square

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Materiality of the entrance

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Materiality of the staircase 11


Council Boundaries

Internal Property Boundaries

Site Boundary

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Boundaries represented in a change of material

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Bi-hourly footfall of Cambridge Leisure Park 8am-10am

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10am-12am

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12am-2pm

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2pm-4pm

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4pm-6pm

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6pm-8pm

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8pm-10pm

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The inadequacy of the current entrance

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Intervention

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Staircase

-Entrance from road not obvious -Dull use of materials & boring aesthetic -Crossing the road is dangerous -Bad access for cyclists & the disabled

Clifton Way Entrance -Obscure -Underused -Dull aesthetic

Square

-Lack of communal activity -Exposed & uncomfortabley large area -No more than a transitive space -Dull aesthetic

Cherry Hinton Road Entrance

-Obscure -Underused -Pedestrians & cyclists share path -Main path unclear

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An Intervention The Cambridge Leisure Square may present multiple problems, however it holds plenty of potential. In order to focus our efforts on improving one problematic zone within the square, we initially decided to concentrate on the staircase entrance from Hills road. We proceeded to design small scale temporary interventions which would improve the currently obscure, ugly, and indirect entrance. The more we analysed the square, the more apparent the lack of disability and cyclist access became. The team moved on to research ramp designs, varying in cost, ambition, practicality and aesthetic. We considered applying for planning permission in connection with disability access in order to bring attention to this entrance, in the hopes of starting a conversation within the council. We realised, however, that it was not just the design of the stairs which was causing problems for the square; the issues highlighted by the analysis of the square applied to the entire 7,000m2 site. The final proposals which we put forward were of varying scale and cost, involving changes across the entire square. The simplest proposal involved rotating the staircase. The most ostentatious proposal was a design for a ‘sky platform’, or additional level above part of the square, providing more sheltered space, commercial space and second floor entrances.

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Abstract The clean, geometric nature of the objects and their vivid colour create engaging and emotive pieces of art in an otherwise bleak and bland area. Through this the public might find themselves noticing the poor quality of design elsewhere in the area for the first time.

Project Projection This is more than simply to grab the attention of the passing public, it is a comment on the poor quality of this urban space. The immateriality of projecting onto buildings enabled any regulations and rules concerning the private nature of the land to be ridiculed.

A Grand Opening Dissatisfied with the unwelcoming nature of the current access point to the site from the town centre, ‘A Grand Opening’ intended to create a dramatic and inviting entrance to the square. The archway would simply slot onto the wall, easily removed at the whim of those tasked with, perhaps ironically, looking after the square.

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Fun and interesting aesthetic - bike friendly - leads into square

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Wide - practical - leads into square - cycle friendly large crowd capacity - travel lodge road becomes a tunnel

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Disabled/cycle access - practical - simplest design

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Fun! - child friendly - no cycle/disabled access - time efficient

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Disabled/bike access - leads into square - tunnel for travel lodge access - practical

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Doubled up ramp more aesthetically pleasing - disabled/ cycle access - practical - travel lodge carpark obstructed

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Proposal 1

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Proposal 2

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Proposal 3

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Design Guidelines 1) Raised elements to coincide with the 4m height of surrounding first stories. 2) Vertical elements as a means of dividing the square into more intimate sections. 3) Seating and green space should be increased fourfold as a minimum. 4) Second floor entrance could be added to improve accessibility. 5) Preserve all disabled access and parking. 6) A larger entrance to the square for those arriving from the city centre as a priority. 7) Access to existing amenities shouldn’t be inhibited.

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Application for Planning Permission. Town and Country Planning Act 1990 You can complete and submit this form electronically via the Planning Portal by visiting www.planningportal.gov.uk/apply

Publication of applications on planning authority websites Please note that the information provided on this application form and in supporting documents may be published on the Authority’s website. If you require any further clarification, please contact the Authority’s planning department. Please complete using block capitals and black ink. It is important that you read the accompanying guidance notes as incorrect completion will delay the processing of your application.

1. Applicant Name and Address

2. Agent Name and Address

Title:

Title:

First name:

Last name:

Last name:

Company (optional):

Company (optional):

Unit:

House number:

House suffix:

First name:

House number:

Unit:

House name:

House name:

Address 1:

Address 1:

Address 2:

Address 2:

Address 3:

Address 3:

Town:

Town:

County:

County:

Country:

Country:

Postcode:

Postcode:

House suffix:

3. Description of the Proposal Please describe the proposed development, including any change of use:

Has the building, work or change of use already started?

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Yes

If Yes, please state the date when building, work or use were started (DD/MM/YYYY): Has the building, work or change of use been completed? If Yes, please state the date when the building, work or change of use was completed: (DD/MM/YYYY):

No (date must be pre-application submission)

Yes

No (date must be pre-application submission) $Date:: 2015-04-02 #$ $Revision: 6149 $


Our interventions tackle a wide range of issues in the square. The key problem which remains, however, is the issue of public space in private ownership. Conflicts of ownership and responsibility for this area of high-potential are preventing its development and use. Until these conflicts are resolved, any proposal will be ignored. Having explored the possibility of formally applying for a planning application, the number of rules and regulations prompted us to search for a more instantaneious and explosive approach. We wanted to rejuvinate the square, even if only for a short while.

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Spectacle

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“Spectacle; a visually striking performance or display.� Why should we settle for routinely under-designed public spaces? Spectacles aim to reinvent Cambridge Leisure Park, occupying it for a fleeting moment in which we capture the dynamism and spontaneity that we, and public space, deserves. Regulations, budgets and the existing grey wastelands that surround us should not form a premise for design. Instead, our premise is to achieve the greatest impact for the smallest expenditure. Through this we hope to communicate the fact that budget and convention should not form the basis of our urban spaces. By introducing ambition, imagination and polythene we hope to challenge everything that Cambridge Leisure Park represents.

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A love letter to poundland

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Cambridge ‘Leisure’ Park £15,000,000 (Budget for development of site)

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Spectacle £500 (That’s 30,000 times less expensive)


‘Leisure’ Park £15,000,000 10,000m2 £1500/m2 City of Cambridge

Polythene Spectacle £15,000,000 trip to poundland 300,000,000m2 £0.05/m2

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(Previous) Infinity: In a world of regulations, we need to recapture a sense of possibility and imagination in our approach to urbanism. (Left) Motion: Why are our urban spaces so often lifeless and unchanging? Citizens deserve an engaging, dynamic and spontaneous environment (Above) Drama: Cost and time should not become constraints on the ambition and impact of a project; playing it safe -is underwhelming.

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Float

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Kite

Ramp


Order

Chaos

Motion

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Construction

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Making seams and joining edges 62


Making strong corners.

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150mm Corner Bracket Loose Pin Hinge

30mm Bamboo

6mm Nut

6mm Nut 6mm Washer

50x6mm Bolt

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150mm Corner Bracket

310x130x10mm MDF

450x30mm Bamboo 6mm Nut

6mm Washer 40x6mm Bolt

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Folding and compressing the sheets.

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Rolling the sheet onto the poles.

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How to release the poles from suitcase 1

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How to release the poles from suitcase 2

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The Event

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i) Preparation

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29/1

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Using social media to launch our campaign

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Week 1 29/11-6/12/14

Week 2 6-13/12/14

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Citizens’ costume in preparation for the ‘cleansing’ of the space


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Our aim was to cover the square with plastic sheets. The initial idea was to join three large sheets making a sheet of 12 x 25m, with one person holding each corner

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Dividing the space into two, we proposed 4 sheets coming from one suitcase and 4 from another. The choreography simply being the unravelling of the sheet, moving to the designated place and then staying there until made to leave. The sheet has a life of its own, it does not need complicated choreography 83


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We explored different options regarding the timing of the unravelling: cannon, crescendo, one big explosion? We wanted to ensure slick timings, so devised a set of hand instructions. The leader would control everyone’s movements through this

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Choreography Story Board

1.You and your partner will be given a number. One of you will be the sheet runner, one will be the place holder

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2. Runners for number 1-6 stand in position next to the suitcases by the stairs. Be ready to unroll

3. Open the suitcases. Pull the tabs attached to the string which are attached to the rolled sheet and run with the sheet behind you


4. Two runners run to each point shown, one behind the other. Loop back to the suitcase, then loop back to the point

5. Meanwhile, the place holder from each group go the position shown. Stand so you will be on the sheet edge closest to the suitcase

6. Runner, travel past place holder. Place holder turn around and grab string on other end of sheet

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7. Stand still in your designated places holding the strings

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8. Runners 7-17 be ready near suitcases in the middle of the square. Place holders be in position, standing so you will be holding the edge nearest to the suitcase

9. Runners 7 and 8, take sheets out of small suitcase and run straight past your place holder who will grab strings on the other end. Stand in place with the sheet


10. Runners 9-12, take sheets out of large suitcase, then run to place holders as step before, meanwhile small suitcase rolls will be replaced

11. Runners 13 and 14, take sheets out of small suitcase, then run to place holder as step 9, meanwhile large suitcases’ rolls will be replaced

12. Runners 15-17, take sheets out of large suitcase, then run to place holder as step 9

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13. All partners stand in place, holding sheets. You can change the height by releasing or contracting the string

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14. Wait for the security man to come to your pair and tell you to get lost

15. As a pair, walk with your sheet down Clifton Way as shown, taking your time. In Clifton way wait for further instruction


We decided simplicity was key to a spectacular spectacle and reverted back to purely covering the square. Discovering the pavement pattern laid out a frame work for two sheets seamed together, we solely had to instruct groups of four where exactly to stand with their sheet.

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Everyone arrives fully dressed with the suitcases, entering via the staircase

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Everyone knows their suitcase number and so positions themselves accordingly


One leader and their partner takes the end of the sheet and moves towards their position, unravelling the sheet

When the other end of the sheet becomes loose the other pair grabs the strings and moves into position

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Everyone leaves the square via Clifton Way.

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ii) Reflection

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12:45, 29th January 2015

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A Summary

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With many thanks to Karakusevic Architects & Cambridge Association of Architects

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The Citizens Project

Y1 Department of Architecture Cambridge University

Citizens: First Year Architecture Project: University of Cambridge  

First year students of architecture at the University of Cambridge engaging in an exciting project aptly named: Citizens

Citizens: First Year Architecture Project: University of Cambridge  

First year students of architecture at the University of Cambridge engaging in an exciting project aptly named: Citizens

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