Archive of Oppression
Located in Deptford, London, U.K.
I started this design from my personal interest in how materiality and light can influence the experience of a person, mainly focussed on the psychological and emotional impact these design desicions can have. I found interest in the contrast of different types of spaces, going from very light and bright interiors on one hand and very dark and sober spaces on the other, and how you can use this knowledge in telling a story. I also wanted integrate my observation of how society views the world in ‘black and white’ while actually we should be looking for the grey area and the nuances.
When conducting further research on the specific design location in Deptford, it was discovered this exact site had been one of the greatest slavery dockyards in the Birtish past. Yet somehow, hardly anyone knew about this dark past and little to no references are being found to the horrible events that have occured. The name of the site has even been changed to create a clean sleeve for the area without relating to the slavery history. This formed the basis of my design: making sure the untold stories were being heard and people would get the full picture of the past. This story of oppression was a rather relatable one for the current local neighbourhood as well, since enourmous urban development plans are currently risking the vibrant and multicultural community to be dislodged since mid- and high-class people will enter the area in the skyscrapers that are planned to be built on this exact location.
The entire design is based on the approach of storytelling, causing the form of the building to have a poetic core. The program and routing throughout the building have a very strong narrative as well. You enter the building at the pavilion, where the museum route starts. Here, the ‘pretty’ side of the story is being told about the past wealth and successes of Great Britain. Then, you slowly descend into the ground to experience multiple stages of oppression. Slowly but steady you see there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Ending the exhibition in the Hall of Hope, you start climbing the tower. Here you pass a cafe, library, theater room, workshop spaces and a restaurant on your way up. All the way at the top there’s an observation deck with a beautiful view over the Deptford neighbourhood as well as the rest of London.
Click here for a full overview of functions through out the building.
Light and bright
Hall of Hope
Express and discuss

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