This project started with research into the role of faith in western society and education and is an extension of my dissertation ‘Designing Knowledge : An Investigation into how the techniques of learning have changed through history until the present day and how, using these methods, a new modern paradigm for education could be formed.’
A new paradigm, similar to that of educational centres such as SCHUMACHER COLLEGE, THE SCIENTIFIC AND MEDICAL NETWORK and EMERSON COLLEGE. This project looks at a reinvention of educational and sacred spaces. The three key themes are:
THE SACRED CLASSROOM – The split of body and mind has lead to our fragmented societytoday. Our distrust in religion and, increasingly, in education has caused humanity to become disconnected.Analysing the world in a mechanical and analytical way ignores the ecological context, complexity, emergentproperties and intrinsic value of life, cannot capture the whole story.
Secondly, RE-ENCHANTING KNOWLEDGE-Learning has become something we do but not something we love. ‘Philios,’ the Greek world for love and ‘sophia,’ the Greek word for wisdom is the origin of ‘philosophy’ – the love of wisdom. The 21st century needs to recapture the natural human curiosity and imagination
Finally the VALUE OF COMMUNITY – Education has become an elitist commodity. A huge driving force ofthis project is to reject this idea – Education is for everyone who purses it – to reinstate the Socratic peripatetic method of engaging with the people around us in our community and learning from one another.
The Wye Valley has a history immeresed in the Monastic way of life. The Cistercian abbey of Tintern is one of the greatest monastic ruins of Wales. Situated in the village of Tintern in Monmouthshire, on the Welsh bank of the River Wye which forms theborder between Monmouthshire in Wales and Gloucestershire in England.
Tintern Abbey was the first Cistercian Abbey to be built in Wales. Cistercian life was a return to literal obsevance of the Rule of St Benedict. Rejecting the developments the Benedictines had undergone, the monks tried to replicate monastic life exactly as it had been in Saint Benedict’s time. The most striking feature in the reform was the return to manual labour, especially eld-work, a special characteristic of Cistercian life The Cistercians sought out solitude in the mountains and moorlands, and were highlysuccessful. Thirteen Cistercian monasteries, all in remote sites, were founded in Wales between 1131 and 1226.
In order to reach achieve the ideal ‘Education for everyone!’ it is clear from studying the precedents that the cost is the primary factor. With this in mind, the project site is located between/ under and above the A48 and the historic BrunelTrain Bridge. The area lies adjacent to the River Wye and is approximately 5-10 minute walk from the town centre, Chepstow Castle and the train station. The site is deliberately challenging and aggressive and the project itself is an exploration in dealing with these hostile and abandoned sites to be able to uncover the impressive nature of them.
The massing of the building is primarily organised under the Brunel trainbridge and turns its back on the A48. By massing this way respect is returned to the train bridge, as it was once forgotten, it now acts as a shading canopyabove the accommodation block. The accommodation act as a foot to the towers. By extruding the ground floor, the edge of the building becomes softer to address the planned housing development. By forming the accommodation in this way, each room can have a small amount of privatised patio.