Alice Hewitt from Level 6 BA (Hons) Architecture looks at the architecture of Poole town centre:
Gordon Cullen, an influential English architect and urban planner played a key role in the exploration of the urban environment. In his book, Concise Townscape, Cullen uses serial drawings as a method of depicting the setting in front of him at that particular moment in time as “…the even process of travel is illuminated by a series of sudden contrasts and so an impact is made on the eye, bringing the plan to life. (Cullen, 1971, p.17).
By walking a specific route through an area and documenting it through drawings and diagrams Cullen sought to highlight and bring emphasis to the subtle changes and differences that make up the environment and create any atmospheres that can be experienced.
Poole is the context given for BA (Hons) Architecture’s second year projects and Cullen’s way of analysing a city particularly appealed to me. Poole is an interesting city in that it has vast potential to be great.
Whilst the population of Poole has steadily grown, the city has grown with it. However, the very core of the city, the main high street, hospital and various public amenities remain in much the same format as they have for hundreds of years. This has left the layout of the city centre confusing and inefficient. In addition the majority of Poole’s population live in large areas of residential housing on the edges of the city centre leaving the main highstreets mostly deserted at night and with very little humanity or sense of community.
It is not to be said however that Poole has no positive attributes. The older areas of Poole including the Quay side, St James Church and parts of the high street hold a wealth of historical and architectural beauty. The Sunseeker business gives Poole its somewhat substantial tourist industry that is encouraged further by the Jurassic Coast and Brownsea Island.
It can clearly be seen however that whilst the population has grown and the city has expanded outwards there has been no attempt at town planning or reorganization. The post World War Two prefab houses sprawling into Poole’s suburbs and the industrial oriented zoning that suited the needs of the time no longer suit the needs of the modern day. The high street is left neglected and lifeless and the housing estates the same as “…principle of segregation and zoning goes marching on, with the result that we are in danger of losing the the great unities of social living” (Cullen, 1971, pg 76).
In a port city that would once have been bustling with life and a sense of community people now live, work and shop in separate areas and the small highstreet can no longer cater for the needs of the growing population both socially and architecturally.
These drawings show my journey from the Dolphin Centre to the Quayside and illustrate the small changes and subtle nuances that give life to the area.
Check out Alice’s website: alicejhewitt.wix.com
And on Flickr: flickr.com/alicejhewitt