Architecture of Transition / P r o p o s i n g a n e w m o d e l f o r t h e M a r s a O p en C e n t r e
Left / Marsa, Malta and the Marsa Open Centre (in colour)
Jedidiah Gordon-Moran Diploma project / Winter-Spring 2011 Supervisor / Phil Ayres Student number / 4521 Royal Danish Academy of Fine Art School of Architecture
Appendices and references
Since 2001, more than 12 500 asylum seekers have arrived in Malta, the vast majority in small boats crossing the Mediterranean from Libya. In a country with a population of around 413 000 and the highest population density in the EU, this has placed enormous pressure on Malta.
Main transit points Main trafficking routes from Africa to Europe Major countries of origin in colour
The rush to provide temporary housing for the migrants, who have very few opportunities for employment and financial self-sufficiency in Malta, has resulted in inadequate, overcrowded accommodation and crippling social isolation. Unwanted by a country in which they arrived by accident, their status uncertain, the migrants exist in a frustrating state of social, political, and financial limbo. ERITREA
0 250 500 Kilometers 1:30,000,000
Migration routes from Africa to Europe Source:
Left / Théodore Géricault “The Raft of the Medusa” (Musée du Louvre, Paris)
The Marsa Open Centre is the largest facility in Malta that provides free housing to migrants. A converted industrial trade school in severely polluted port-lands on the Grand Harbour, the Centre was designed to house around 600 people but on any given day it is home to over 1000.
The process of ghettoization in the area surrounding the Centre has already begun and it is perceived as a â€œno go zoneâ€? by many Maltese. Given the current reduced rate of illegal migration to Malta, the Centre is expected to be required for another 5-10 years in its current capacity. However, there will always be a need for transitional housing and support for a number of vulnerable asylum seekers in Malta.
CLOSED DETENTION CENTRES
VALLETTA MARSA OPEN CENTRE Approx 1000 migrants All male
Right / Urban decay on a street a dja c e nt to the Marsa Open Centre; Asylum centres in Malta
# HAL-FAR OPEN CENTRES Approx 1200 migrants in 3 facilities One Centre for women and families
A S A F E, SUPPORTIVE, AND HEA L T H Y P L A C E
AC C E P T ANCE BY THE HOST SOCIE T Y
Using the existing Marsa Open Centre as a starting point, with all its inherent issues and opportunities, how can one develop a model of an open centre that grows directly from the needs of the occupants and provides opportunities for their transition into society?
A L L O W FOR ADAPTATION TO THE N E E D S O F T H E O C C U P A N T S
What might be appropriate models/processes through which to reconsider and propose its development that allow for step-by-step adaptation?
A “ R E MOTE” PARTICIPATORY DE S I G N P R O C E S S
Is it possible to employ a participatory design process when removed from the site and the users in question?
How can one use architecture to define a “new model” of an open centre that simultaneously fosters a sense of agency and ownership while facilitating integration and acceptance by the host society?
AG E N C Y , OWNER SHIP, AND COMMU N I T Y
None of the asylum seekers want to live a life of dependency in perpetuity but in the short-term they have few alternatives. As long as an open centre is their best option, they have a right to a safe, supportive, and healthy place where they feel a sense of agency and community.
This thesis will make propositions for the transformation of the Marsa Open Centre into a healthy place for migrants in need of transitional housing as well as foster a better relationship between the asylum seekers and the host community.
T R A N S I T I O N A L HOUSING
The Centre will embody the importance of providing space for expressions of individuality and cultural identity while at the same time finding ways to encourage integration and tolerance both inside and out.
S H A R E D S P A C E S A N D C U L T U R A L EXCHANGE
As the ultimate goal of any asylum seeker is to become independent and resettled in the community, the Centre will be re-imagined through an architecture of transition. This will be supported both through the processes that create the new Centre (see “The Process”) and in its program (see “The Program”).
E N C O U R A G E I N T E G R A T I O N A N D TOLERANCE
In order to instill a sense of agency in the asylum seekers and connections to the community, the design will provide opportunities for the users and host community to be involved in the process of building a Centre that is highly sensitive to individual and collective needs.
A N A R C H I T E C T U R E O F T RANSITION
The thesis will briefly speculate on a life beyond the Marsa Open Centre. Key areas where migrants could be re-housed and further establish their independence in society will be suggested.
S E N S I T I V I T Y T O I N D I V I D U A L A N D C O L L E C T I VE NEEDS
Olive tree plantation Community gardens
Olive oil processing Workshops
CULTURE Multifaith centre Library Theatre/stage
LEISURE Football pitch Playground Restaurants HOUSING/SHELTER Single men and women
COMMUNITY Multipurpose rooms Community kitchens Outdoor gathering space
SHARED ASYLUM SEEKERS + MALTESE
Families Unacommpanied children and vulnerable Emergency/overflow SUPPORT Offices Security Health clinic
/ Housing for single men and women / Housing for families / Housing for unaccompanied children and vulnerable individuals / Emergency shelter All of these typologies will exhibit their own while simultaneously supporting and enhancing as a whole. This will be achieved through a process (Appendix A) that allows for adaptation
identities the Centre generative over time.
The remaining aspects of the functional program will facilitate transition into society through spaces that can be shared by Maltese citizens and asylum seekers alike. In these spaces, social interactions between cultures will be encouraged, creating valuable connections between communities while reducing social isolation and prejudices.
L ef t // The functional program builds up on existing facilities at the Marsa Open Centre and proposes new ones.
Marketplace Beauty salon
One of the main programmatic concerns of the Marsa Open Centre will be transitional housing (Appendix A) for asylum seekers. Given the diverse needs of the asylum seekers, there will be various sets of criteria leading to a number of housing typologies that will coexist at the Marsa Open Centre//
Proposed functional program //
These are the main issues that have been identified by the residents of the Marsa Open Centre //
Isolation and disconnection, lack of acceptance
Unhealthy spaces, poisoned environment
Overcrowding, dependency, homogeneity
Boredom, monotony, lack of motivation
No hope, no opportunities Right // Views of the current state of the Marsa Open A prison without walls Centre
Privacy, independence, and self-expression Provide privacy when required as well as clear transitions between the public and private domain; Provide opportunities for the expression of cultural identity and encourage independence
Reinterpreting local materials, knowledge, and building methods
Education, training and job opportunities Provide spaces and support for in-situ skill development and entrepreneurship that will facilitate the asylum seekersâ€™ eventual transition into society
Providing space for trade and supporting entrepreneurship
Constructing a framework for expressions of individuality and cultural identity
Trade, leisure, and culture A Marketplace, restaurants, performance space, football pitch, and a multi-faith centre will strengthen community and build connections
Connections, bridges, and cross-cultural mixing Create opportunities for cultural exchange and increased tolerance. Build connections to the host community through better access to the site and create shared spaces that will attract both Maltese and migrants. Establish further links to the community through the use of materials, knowledge, and building techniques that are available within close proximity to the site. Construction knowledge derived from local workers and asylum seekers >
could be integrated to involve both communities in the development of the Marsa Open Centre Bioremediation and agriculture Include the ecological rehabilitation of the brown field site as an integral and concurrent part of the transitional/ generative process. Agriculture will build self-sufficiency and confidence as well as an understanding that human development is linked to the maintenance of healthy natural systems. Transition and agency Through the previous steps, The Marsa Open Centre should provide support and strengthen community ties but the asylum seekers must also feel that they have been empowered to leave the Centre with skills and connections that will allow them to thrive. The asylum seekers that live at the Centre should feel as if the Centre has evolved in response to their needs as existing centers are intensified and new ones generated. The Centre will be a place in which both Maltese and asylum seekers feel as if they are accepted but more than that, it should give the asylum seekers the means and ability to move on.
Opportunities for bioremediation and agriculture
Strengthening existing centers identified through fieldwork
PUBLIC PRIVATE ACCESS ROUTES
Generating new centers and negotiating public/private space
A living/generative process
Care of the Earth, Care of the People, Fair Share
Since the project uses an existing program and site as a starting point with hundreds of asylum seekers already living there, it will be crucial that any changes are implemented incrementally, over time, in response to the needs of the present and future users as well their environment.
Use of the following principles will ensure that the Marsa Open Centre rehabilitates natural systems and the lives of the people that cohabit those systems //
A living or generative process seems most appropriate in this situation since it implies that changes are made step-by-step, allowing for feedback, corrections, and adjustments at each stage. In a generative process, one thing unfolds from another as space is differentiated and defined. In this way, â€œeach step in the process creates the context for
Permaculture / the conscious design and maintenance of agriculturally productive ecosystems which have the diversity, stability, and resilience of natural ecosystems. It is the harmonious integration of landscape and people providing their food, energy, shelter, and other material and non-material needs in a sustainable way. Without // Tw o permanent agriculture there is no possibility of a stable L ef t e x a m ple s of social order. g e n erative p r o c e s s :
Permaculture design / a system of assembling conceptual, Morphogenesis of material, and strategic components in a pattern which an embryo; Plan functions to benefit life in all its forms. of The Alhambra
the next step in the whole.â€? (Alexander) This way, the design can develop from the needs of the users. Changes to the existing Centre will occur at two reciprocal levels: Local and accretive. Local (or creative) developments (such as those at the scale of an individual building) will inform a larger accretive process as the Centre unfolds as a whole.
The design process for the Marsa Open Centre was inspired by the principles for creating life in buildings in Christopher Alexanderâ€™s The Nature of Order as well as Principles of Permaculture described by Bill Mollison and others. These principles offer ways of guiding the design process.
First and foremost, the process will be grounded in and inspired by restrictions defined by the site, the sociocultural reality, and environmental factors
/ D e v el o p w ays f or the users to be involved in the building process; investigate ideas of selfbuild and opportunities for self-expression
The process //
/ Create a catalogue of building materials that are currently available on the site and in the immediate vicinity (“a new vernacular”)
/ Iterations, testing through sketch models
/ W h e n e ver p ossi bl e, pr ocess of d esign a n d m odelling should mirror process of building (ie. materials and construction systems)
R ig ht // To p / Tr a m p ol i n e House; Botto m / Colla g e of housing typology
/ E m ploy “Remote participatory design” that builds on field w ork by involving members of the asylum community in Denmark in the design process
/ D e ter m i n e h o u si n g criteria and typologies; collage a variety of housing references onto existing site / S h o w sequence of local and accretive development of the Centre over time in response to incremental changes (e.g. The addition of a library that bridges the canal will
cause a shift of existing program, freeing up space for new developments while simultaneously bringing more people into the Centre due to better access and program that is desired by many) / E m p i r i c a lly test a r c h ite c t u r al ideas through the application of Alexander’s 15 Fundamental Properties (Appendix A) / C a s e studies of Trampoline House (Copenhagen), Le Petit Château (Brussels) / Collaborators/ consultants will include Jorgen Eskemose (Dept. of Hu m an Settle m ents) and Morten Goll (Tra mpoline House)
Sketch models showing process SITE PLAN 1:250 A0
DIAGRAMS/ ANALYSIS A4
Site sequence model, 1:250 Building-scale model (library, housing), 1:100
PLAN/SECTION 1:200 HOUSING
SITE PLAN 1:2500 A3 PERSPECTIVES A1
SECTION PERSPECTIVE SYSTEMS A1
Details (models or drawings), 1:20 Series of rendered perspectives: / Occupation and interaction / Lighting and shadows / Building interiors Section perspective of site (showing systems) Site plans, 1:250 and 1:2500
SECTION/ELEVATION/PERSPECTIVE SEQUENCE DRAWING 4.5 X A2
Sequence drawing showing generative process (aerial perspectives) // Building plans, sections, elevations (housing and library), L e f t Proposed Afgang 1:200 presentation layout w it h Animation of large drawings o v e r a l l dim ensions of Site/environmental analysis and process (digital presentation) 300 cm x 200 cm
PLAN/SECTION 1:200 HOUSING
PLAN/SECTION 1:200 LIBRARY
5/Olive oil processing
11/Using existing fabric
28 / Tutorial with Anne
24 + 25 / Critique
19 / Tutorial with Jorgen
/ Housing, Libraries, public buildings / Revision of outdoor spaces scheme based on feedback from crit / Library, main square, housing diagramming / Library and main square sketch
/ Housing, materials / Women and family housing sketch
10 + 11 / Round table tutorials
/ Housing, materials / Women and family housing CAD
19 / Tutorial with Jorgen
15 / Approval of thesis programme
/ Bioremediation, permaculture, olive oil / Outdoor spaces, bioremediation systems, agriculture intensive / Systems section / Outdoor spaces plan / Preparation for Critique
/ Housing, Libraries, public buildings / Library and main square CAD
Bioremediation, permaculture, olive oil Overall massing of scheme (sketch) 3D site model and physical model prep Material catalogue Environmental analysis (3D)
/ Bioremediation, permaculture, olive oil / Site model at 1:250 / Outdoor spaces (including canal), bioremediation systems, permaculture intensive
/ / / / /
/ Preparation for critique / Existing fabric, worship, community / Trampoline House participatory design workshop / Revisions of library and housing based on crit and workshop / Second sequence draft / Integrating other program
Detail sketches / blog updates
24 + 25 / Critique 28 / Tutorial with Anne
Sequence 1 / Building bridges + Housing for single men
19 / Tutorial with Jorgen
/ Trampoline House participatory design workshop or trip to Malta (if time) / Revisions of Sequence 3 based on workshop and crit / Integrating program (site plan, 3D model) / Third sequence draft
25 / Tutorial with Anne
21 + 22 / Critique
/ Final drawings and renderings (3D) / Final models
/ Final drawings (screen printing) / Final models
/ Animations, final diagrams / Preparation for presentation
/ Women and family housing, worship, community / Men’s housing CAD / Suggestions for future development (housing expansion and community spaces)
7 + 8 / Round table tutorials
Ex. fabric, worship, community Community spaces CAD Men’s housing renovation sketch Preparation for Critique
/ / / /
/ Final models / Revise sequence models
Sequence 4 / The future
/ Ex. fabric, worship, community / Community spaces (incl. multi-faith centre) sketch
Sequence 3 / Women, family, + community sapces
Detail sketches / blog updates
24 / Thesis hand-in
Open Centre vs. Closed Centre / An open centre is a facility where asylum seekers may live while their asylum applications are processed. They are free come and go at will as long as they sign in regularly at the centre.
1 / Levels of scale 2 / Strong centers 3 / Boundaries 4 / Alternating repetition 5 / Positive space 6 / Good shape 7 / Local symmetries 8 / Deep interlock and ambiguity 9 / Contrast 10 / Gradients 11 / Roughness 12 / Echoes 13 / The void 14 / Simplicity and inner calm 15 / Not separateness According to Alexander, the presence or absence of these characteristics is an objective way of determining the degree to which a building has life. When applied throughout a design process, these properties should allow for adaptation and correction where every action appears as an unfolding of the whole (a generative process).
Transitional housing / For those who have little or no ability to pay for housing; may include single room occupancy with small independent studio units, boarding-houses and other shared residences; duration of occupancy varies from 6 months to a couple of years or more. (from â€œThe Housing Continuumâ€?, Davis 9)
15 Fundamental Properties and Structure-Preserving Transformations // All objects and buildings that have living structure have certain identifiable structural characteristics:
Center vs Centre / In the context of this project, the word center always refers to a physical set, a distinct physical system, which occupies a certain volume in space, and has a special marked coherence (Alexander, Book 1 84). The word centre, as in Marsa Open Centre or shopping centre, refers to an gathering place and does not come with attached physical characteristics.
Living or Generative process / A generated structure (such as a building) that - as in natural systems - comes about through a process of differentiation (dividing and differentiating a whole to get the parts as opposed to adding together parts in a random fashion) that allows for complex, step-by-step adaptation leading to a coherent whole. Each step in the generation of a living structure creates the context for the next step in the whole. (Alexander, Book 2 197)
/ Methods of construction and use of materials that are most appropriate for the duration of use/occupancy for various programmatic elements / Rehabilitation of natural systems that integrates agricultural production (Permaculture) / A life cycle of materials that emphasizes up-cycling and re-use / Reinterpretation of local fabrication techniques and industry (e.g. ship repair, meat processing, shipping) into an appropriate architectural language / Methods of building that minimize disturbance of the ground and allows for long-term bioremediation of land and water systems / Transitions between public and private domain that respect alternating needs for both privacy and community as well as existing centers / A framework/armature that allows for shaping of space according to individual needs as well as expressions of individuality and cultural identity
Books // Alexander, Christopher. The Nature of Order. Berkeley: The Center for Environmental Structure, 2002. Davis, Sam. Designing for the Homeless. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004. Mollison, Bill.
Building on The 15 Fundamental Properties // A new set of criteria that describe an architecture of asylum, transition, and integration can be developed. These criteria are informed by programmatic needs, duration of use/occupancy by asylum seekers and Maltese, and the necessity for exchange between cultures/ communities. As a working list, they include:
Permaculture. Wahsington, D.C.: Island Press, 1990.
Reference photo credits (photographer, name of project, architect) // 1 & 2 / Aga Khan Award for Architecture, Wadi Hanifa Wetlands, Moriyama & Teshima Planners Limited/Buro Happold 3 / Li Xiaodong, School Bridge, Li Xiaodong atelier 4 / Iwan Baan, Horizontal Skyscraper, Steven Holl 5 / Cristóbal Palma, Olisur Olive Oil factory, GH+A Arquitectos 6 / agps architecture (rendering), Addisbuilt, agps architecture 7 / Jedidiah Gordon-Moran, Pollestres Community Centre, architect unknown 8 / Cristóbal Palma, Quinta Monroy, Elemental 9 / Kristel Gonzales, Bottle School, Illac Diaz and MyShelter Foundation 10 / Roland Halbe & Pablo Calzado, Centro de Tecnificación Deportiva, José María Sánchez García 11 / Pedro Mutis J., CCAF Los Heroes, Murtinho + Raby Arquitectos 12 / Nelson Kon, Victor Civita Plaza – Open Museum of Sustainability, Levisky Arquitectos Associados
Sept 2009 – present Royal Danish Academy of Fine Art, School of Architecture Master of Architecture candidate Sept 2007 – April 2009 Dalhousie University Bachelor of Environmental Design Studies Dean’s Honours List 2001 ‐ 2005 Ryerson University Bachelor of Fine Arts Film Studies
Aug 2008 – Dec 2008 Architectural Co‐op/Internship Montgomery Sisam Architects, Toronto
June 2009 – Sept 2009 Proposal writing, layout, graphic design, photography MJM Architects, Toronto
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