Rethinking the sanctuary
Though gender division is a ubiquitous problem, Northern Ireland shows particularly old-fashioned views for a developed country. With Belfast at the forefront of new wave feminist protesting, the city provides a perfect location for tackling this division. There is a demand for a building that can act as a safe space, as well as promoting and normalising these prominent issues. Suggested spaces that allow this would include: temporary housing, a women’s clinic, social spaces, lecture spaces, and, offices for a feminist group: The Belfast Feminist Network.
The feminist ideology includes freedom and peace for women, and so the design will be open and free-flowing to correspond. This would enhance relations between workers and users, further connecting the people of Belfast, whilst still considering the sensitivity of women’s issues.
The space will create subtle relationships between private and public, and interior and exterior. This will be through the use of courtyards, screen walls, and various ‘cut outs’ from the circulation into social areas. These features would create light and relaxing areas for various activities, whilst focusing on creating harmonious views through-out the building.
Laws concerning women in Northern Ireland also show a lack of control over natural occurrences to female bodies. For this reason, untreated woods and metals would be used in a cladding screen. The untreated materials will change in appearance over time, and this will be considered a critical part of the building’s aesthetics. This screen will wrap around a steel and curtain walling frame.