ARC: process not product

Hay, Chris (2011) ARC: process not product. In: Fixed? Architecture, Incompleteness and Change, 7-8 April 2011, University of Plymouth.

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This paper discusses the ARC project in Hull. It takes the form of a case study of a building conceived from the outset as having no fixed final form or indeed permanent location. The first iteration of the building, designed by Niall McLaughlin Architects, was completed in 2006 and houses the events space and offices for ARC, the Architecture centre for Hull and the Humber Region.

The building project grew out of the creation of Hull’s Architecture Centre, an initiative formed by collaboration between academics from the two local Universities, plus Community and Business representatives. The intention was that the organization would act as a catalyst for change, and raise architectural aspirations underpinned by an ethos that local people are experts in their own lives. ARC does this through a series of interlinked programmes entitled the learning Programme, Design Review, and the Public Realm. In addition the building hosts exhibitions, debates and workshops of various kinds.

The Building Project
The building project grew out of a particular set of circumstances that have already passed into history. The opportunity to access money, supported by the regional regeneration agency, now abolished, enabled ARC to consider building – the only UK architecture centre to have thus done so. The underlying intention behind the brief, which the current author jointly developed, and the resultant building, where he subsequently acted as client representative for the project, was that we (ARC) needed to go to the people rather than always expecting the people to come to ARC. The idea of mobility, change and transformation was thus built into the project from the start. Rather than seeing the project as a permanent marker in time and space the project was conceived as is a 25-year ongoing experiment where relocation, transformation and adaptability are the only constants.

The building is thus a series of interlinked components, systems and narratives born of the city and its people that embrace the incomplet, the contingent and the unexpected. Arc is a building that can adapt and reconfigure as occasion and resources allow. It is a project that can never actually be considered to be finished.

Keywords:Architecture, mobility, relocatable
Subjects:K Architecture, Building and Planning > K100 Architecture
Divisions:College of Arts > School of Architecture & Design > School of Architecture & Design (Architecture)
ID Code:7824
Deposited On:05 Mar 2013 20:44

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