PROMO-GRANATE | Marseille, France | Unit 21 | 2016
Awarded Distinction for Design
When tracing the origin of Heroin you will almost inevitably find that Afghanistan is the source. Afghanistan’s economy is highly dependent on opium farming, which has funded the insurgents fighting NATO forces and corrupted the government. Foreign countries like the U.S. and UK have promoted pomegranate farming to replace the opium fields. However, a pomegranate factory in Afghanistan could not sustain itself due to the instability of political issues and lack of government infrastructure. Therefore, the project seeks to utilise Marseille’s port city location and assist the pomegranate trade the same way it did the opium trade in the French Connection. It is seen as an opportunity to change the image of Marseille as a drug city.
In the design project, the nature of different boundaries is explored, which are associated with different elements of the urban park. The ‘boundaries’ act as an architectural element in different parts of the park such that not only is the border a mark to a park region but also aims to respond spatially and calibrate the value of the pomegranate products and farming situation in Afghanistan. The scheme also rethinks the ways of access, separation and experience that each could provide in order to draw awareness to the political issues.
The proposal aims to act as a calibrator where the ‘boundaries’ mediate between park facilities and pomegranate production lines. These three elements merge to form the architecture. The idea is to reveal the political issues in Afghanistan and address a moralistic statement to the public—that is, the privilege of enjoying the public facilities is exchanged for the constant fight of replacing opium farming. The overall scheme is explored as a system with a series of boundaries. The superimposition of the architectural interventions of boundaries and urban park facilities of the proposals is dictated by the implied market value of pomegranate. The operation of the artificial boundary is closely linked to the pomegranate supply and production. The idea of placing pomegranate production lines as boundaries between park facilities reflects the quantitative data of supply and production. It defines the enclosure and distinction as a traditional architectural form to secure and defend.
It is intentionally positioned in a way that the market value of pomegranate products is registered by the visitors while crossing. Here, an inevitable hierarchy in the park facilities determines the value of pomegranate products, which is reflected in the compositional order, ingress route and amount of boundaries visitors have to cross.
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