The site is recognized as being an anchor in a larger arc formation originating in the old city center to the East and stretching west across to the New Gallery through the Splash development, to the LEX site. The proposal for two core programs: a flexible Performance space along with a Hotel, injects two potent public attractors and economic generators on this trajectory defining the arc as the new cultural spine for Walsall.
In order to create a necessary densification/intensification of activities within the boundaries of the site, all form is programmed not just once… but twice. This hyper mixture and compression of activities within a limited space increases the frequency of unique unexpected juxtapositions and experiences.
Performance Bar AND Billboard
The Performance space needs maximum urban visibility; it takes the shape of a bar along the street edge. It contains the stage, the stage tower, and supporting programs such as administrative offices, meeting rooms.
The Façade as Billboard/Screen: The stage is open on both sides, revealing glimpses of the spectacle to the street. The city becomes both audience and participant.
The Entrance is carved into the façade, it becomes a porthole to the auditorium space as well as to the public Plaza and Hotel.
Auditorium Dome AND Remediation Garden
Auditorium / Garden: Auditorium on the inside, Garden on the outside. The garden is a filtering device. Water from the canal is pumped up, filtered and then trickles down the garden back into the canal. This process over time creates a localized cleansing of the canal.
The dome surface is pitted. The pits vary in diameter and depth allowing for various soil depths encouraging over time the growth of a diverse set of plant species.
Inside, the dome space is flexible in nature and provides supporting secondary programs, i.e. conference areas, rehearsal and screening spaces, virtual concert space.
Retail space AND Public Plaza
The retail space becomes an extension of both the Performance space as well as the Hotel space.
The Public plaza above is perforated to create a varied and differentiated retail space below. The pattern of perforation is based on a Google satellite image of the site itself in its current condition. From the air, the plaza is rendered invisible.
Hotel AND Public Steps
The Hotel maximizes its adjacency to the canals, by wrapping itself around the tip of the site.Its units are staggered offering every unit a terrace onto the canal.
The hotel lobby spills into the public plaza offering its amenities to the public, i.e. swimming pool, retail spaces, bars, restaurants.
The top of the hotel is sliced at a 35 degree slope to make its top surface inhabitable as an extension of the public plaza. The steps simply follow the emergent cut line.