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|Title:||DESA1002 'Continuous City' Alexandra Gray|
Architecture & Allied Arts
|Abstract:||Tunisia’s history starts with an emblematic woman, both legendary and historical: Dido the founder of Carthage. The initial concept for the Women’s Enterprise Centre (W.E.C) draws reference from Dido, who was responsible for the origin of a city and the creation an empire. The function of the W.E.C is to support the economic development of Tunisian women, over 10,000 of whom are heads of businesses. The Centre provides a place where women can access information and services, conduct meetings, and network with the female business community. There is a large creative workshop to encourage women to continue the traditional craftworks of the region – textiles, jewellery, painting and sculpture. Located in the Medina, The W.E.C and adjacent public cafe and gallery space occupy a prominent site that fronts on to a civic plaza. A series of design responses outlined below differentiate the building’s public and private functions and consider the civic address. The private nature of the W.E.C is reinforced by a main entry raised off the ground plane. The entry stairs are oriented away from the plaza enabling women to enter discreetly via the adjacent street. A metal mesh screen provides subtle layers, adding to the private nature of the entry. In contrast, the public café and gallery entries address the plaza directly. They are located on the ground level with a wide entry space. The café’s colonnade provides an inviting continuation of form throughout the plaza. An olive grove has been introduced at this end of the plaza to diffuse the shift from the older style buildings to the new. The building design is in keeping with the geometry of the medina and incorporates a central courtyard that separates the two functions. This is supported by independent circulation for both public and private spaces. Opaque screens have been used to allow shared access to light and to create a non-visual connection between the spaces. The screens add intrigue and create a tension between the public and private spaces where shadow movement indicates activity and a presence beyond.|
|Department/Unit/Centre:||Architecture & Allied Arts|
|Appears in Collections:||DESA1002 – 2009|
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