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A new Polling Station


Can the architecture of voting be re-thought to make this vital democratic act an engaging social and spatial ritual?

Exisitng polling stations in Leeds

Sisterhood Room, Methodist School Room, Lofthouse

Portable building, land adjoining, Bancrost towers, Seacroft

Belle Isle Branch library, Belle Isle

Meanwood Community Cenre, Meanwood

Venerable Bede Parish Church, Bramley

Dance Studio, Bramley Baths, Bramley

Seacroft Library, Seacroft

Calton Primary School, Calton

Harewood Village Hall, Harewood

Old Halfway House Pub, Robin Hood, WakeďŹ eld

Wetherby St James, C of E Primary School, Wetherby

Otley Civic Centre, Otley, Warfedale


My last vote

Description of my last vote Arthington village hall stands as an anonymous single story structure, replete with pitched roof and white rendered walls. Its entrance faces onto the car-park, its windows too high for the passer by to look into from the busy Poole to Harewood stretch of the A659. The hall is one of 367 polling stations in the Leeds constituency, and part of a division of 33 wards for the General Election. The signage exclaims ‘POLLING BOOTH’ and ‘WAY IN’, the lettering is clean, alert and upright, optimistic but in no nonsense instructive manner, the spaces between letters make each one stand out creating a clear instruction to act. The car-park is empty, I am on foot and make my way inside, I am greeted by the presiding officer and her assistant sitting at a collapsible table, I register, then take the ballot paper and enter one of the wooden booths. After crossing a box from a list of unknown candidates, for parties I am familiar with, I fold and post the ballot paper into a plastic ballot box. I ask the women if it has been busy today, they remark on the weather. I notice the curtains and leave.

examples from accross the world

Papua New Guinee

Norway Jerusalem

What a mobile polling station could be


Trade and Democracy Making every voting booth (the stage for the democratic act) involves a supply chain of global capitalism

Making the plywood Voting Booth in the workshop

Tracing the global journey of the plywood

12.5 Ecterior Grade Plywood

Shire Timber yard, Cross Green industiral estate, Leeds

Southampton Docks

Port of Tanjung Pelepas, Malaysia

Plywood Factory, Sibu, Malaysia

Machining the logs into ply

Malaysian Tropical Forrest


A Local link between trade and democracy Birmingham, the city

of 1000 trades correspondingly became a centre for workers rights, civic pride and democracy

Birmingham grew during the early industiral revolution as a centre for making and inovation - The Jewellery quarter and the Soho area of the city were central to the growth of UK manufacturing at the end of the 18th century , utilising a new and exstensive canal network, and the local specialisim in steam power and engineering.

Gold

Boulton and Watt Soho Manufactury, Birmingham 1800, a world leader in steam engine technological and engineering development.

Gold Bar

Jewellery smiths workstation in the Jewellery Quarter Musuem

Mathew Boulton, Candle Vase

Mathew Boulton, Candle Vase, dimantled into its many complex elements

Global distribution of products made at Boulton’s Birmingham steam powered mint.

Chart showing where vistors to Boulton and Watt Manufactury came from at the end of the 18th Century

trade, workers rights, civic pride and democracy were developed in Birmingham during the Victorian period. Notably Joseph Chamberlain - A Birmingham screw manufacturer became one of Britains most influential 19th century politicians. Major links between

Joseph Chamberlain


Design of booths, pamphlets and voting properganda

Materials arrive to site for booth manufacture

Public archive of global trade and democracy

Initial building program proposal

voting booth spectacle for general elections visible form street

Production and manufacture of voting booths

Classroom to hold conferences and teach pupils

Distribution of voting booths by canal barge

dsitibution of voting information and posters by courier and fly posters

Distribution of ballot boxes to presiding officers on foot/ car

Distribution of voting booths by van

Storage and repair of Voting booths pamphlets, posters and electoral sundries


Birmingham


Walking from Birmingham New Street station to the site, out of the city centre towards the Jewellery Quarter

Encounter with the site - Brindley House and the BT tower

Pedestrian bridge accross dual carriageway

Arrive Birmingham New Street Station


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Access to site

Illustration shows the site without Brindley House and the BT Tower

1. Access to the site from street level on Lionel Street over an exisitng building with a carpark on its roof.

REET

NEWHALL ST

2. Access from Newhall Road along the tow path 3. Potential access to the site from the side road running parralell with the canal 4. The canal towpath runs under Ludgate Hill 5. Access from Ludgate Hill

LIONEL STREET

6. Boat access along the canal

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Existing movement through site

Brindley House

BT Tower

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LUDGATE HILL


Site as central node in communications and transport network

BT tower links to satalite communicationshh

Road l

Site sits over the canal

Pedestrian bridge to City centre

Canals and waterways

Rail network

Rail link nearby


06.00

Sun path analysis

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BT Tower

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Site

Brindley House

15.00 18.00


William Hogarth, 1755 Chairing the member. Oil on canvas, Sir John Soane’s Museum, London


Run up to the election, showing courtyard use and utilisation of the canal 1:200

work zone - no pedestrian access

Office for electoral events team

Courtyard

areas reserved for media and event tents

1. The courtyard to the left of the building is utilised for events in the run up to elections, including parties canvassing for votes, speakers corners, and media interviews. There is space at the rear of the courtyard for media and events tents.

2. The canal is vital to the life of the building. It is accesable from the street and becomes an inhabited public space, for canvassing and events. Each pollitical party might have a boat moored on the canal.

LUDGATE HILL

Heavy duty grill over canal

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Initial registration

Two tier registration Initial registration takes place at the front of the building, the two tier registration system, (the final check takes place just before the voting booths) is akin to checking in for a flight. It allows voters to quickly ‘check in’ before 10pm, enabling them to wander around the building, or if busy que to vote until midnight. This new two tier system will avoid any people being stuck in a que to register at 10pm and therfor unable to vote, as happened at the 2010 general election.

1:20 detail of Registration


Key moment 5/7 following the path


Store for Electoral Sundries Hundreds of objects are collected by the presiding officers the evening before an election.

Events office of Electoral Commission


1:200 Plans

Ground floor

to the jewellery quarter

Registration office

canal

workshops voting promenade route

LUDGATE HILL

Workers zone between buildings

public toilet

public toilet

events office

Events Courtyard

areas reserved for Media and event tents

to city centre

First floor

Gangways for counitng ballots

Debatte chamber lift access

Top down view

fold out candidate information panels

un-covered ramp up

exit stairs

polling booths

lift access

ballot box electoral official


Showing key eleciton day moments

1:200

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1. Registration desks

5. View up the steps (and option to take lift)

9. Final document check by electoral official

2. Choice of short route, or longer procession

6. Conversation moment, looking over the city

10. Enclosed, quiet, and non distracting place in which voting takes place.

3. View and walk past the counting wall showing every Birmingham polling station, and the 59 electoral candidate

7. Fold out information boards with info about canditates

11. Placing the ballot in the vessel top, back out in the open.

8. Crossing between the two buildings

12. Descending through building two to the entrance courtyard

4. Bridge under Brindley house, utilising existing canal concrete structures

Showing deliveries of ballot boxes from polling stations accross the West Midlands after the Polling Stations have closed

LUDGATE HILL

trolley takes ballot boxes to the lift and up to levels in main counting wall

1:200

workshop rooms become counting and sorting areas

Heavy duty grill over canal

registration of deliveries

work zone - no pedestrian access unloading

vans and cars arrive with ballot boxes

marked off pedestrian area

areas reserved for Media and event tents electoral officials direct traffic and pedestrians

main road networks


Heavy duty grill over canal

trolley takes ballot boxes to the lift and up to levels in main counting wall

unloading

marked off pedestrian area

work zone - no pedestrian access

workshop rooms become counting and sorting areas registration of deliveries

LUDGATE HILL vans and cars arrive wi ballot boxes


Ludgate Hill Polling station . Birimingham