University of Liverpool

University of Liverpool

Liverpool, GB


A New Face to to-be-imagined Carnatic House by Kalpak Kala

By Kalpak
Oct 29, '20 1:21 PM EST

Year 2018, the University of Liverpool announces the demolition of one of the very few surviving British modernist buildings in Northwest region of the UK: the Carnatic halls for the development of social housing. University spokeswomen stated that the building had served students for over 50 years and no longer met the needs of students led to the decision for selling. Despite many reports on its physical deterioration, the built environment was still intact, in the presence and was known to be the liveliest among all university student halls. The article holds conceptual writing on rethinking preservation as a unique solution to maintain equilibrium between architecture and real-world concerns. It also reimagines new functions and appearance for Carnatic House to maintain standards of the contemporary living and ways to reincarnate the place into the socially active quarter.

The late ’60s was a time when architects were fascinated by advanced technologies bought into architecture by the increase in production of petroleum and rejected all preconceived notions derived from earlier architecture. A period when any external beautification of buildings was forbidden giving birth to a new belief. The brute force of reinforced concrete displayed magical powers that were never witnessed earlier. Architecture from this period extensively exhibited the jugglery between construction and architecture to be the ultimate beauty of the building. The modular, factory-made was considered better than handmade due to its accuracy and precision, minimum labour and wastage of materials, maintaining the quality of products and its modularity offering time efficiency that was not possible with expensive workers. Since then, many movements followed modernism but were unprecedented in portraying such level of innovation and enthusiasm among architects towards architecture at a global scale that modernism could. Considering this spirit of creating something new as a primary impulse that thrills the being, does the preservation of the Carnatic House need to be its absolute state when there is a scope of reimagining it into a new form? Is conservation in an existing shape meaningful for the wider community or is a mere forceful implication set in the name of the broader community that only satisfies the set preconceived notions and limits the creation of new ideas? Conservation of history is vital as it gives us a thorough understanding of our past that may be useful for our future development although need not necessarily be preserved in its absolute state if the essence of the existing building is not lost. For Carnatic House, a higher motive can be attended by extensively exploiting modularity of the structure. The re-assembly of the prefabricated units of the house into a new physical manifestation of sculptural identity, a shelter for various social and recreational activities.

The idea of a sculpture museum arises as a new public gathering spot located near the Parish church that majorly contributes to retaining the gentrifying social fabric of the Mossley hill. The built form becomes a gateway to the central part of the site, boosting social activities in the park, drawing people from all ages, all fields, all backgrounds to the striking presence of the sculptural museum in the park. The spaces inside the museum become sources of revenue to self-sustain, offset any miscellaneous expenses, and generate profits to the stakeholders securing a place in practically attenable ideas.

Since the earliest recorded history of the site, many buildings got built and destroyed changing the layout of the site. The only constant was the architecture onsite bought significance to the community as whole. Thus, the proposed new face to the building will continue the same legacy as a gathering place for public and as a memorial for the thousands of Carnatic Student Village alumni that this hall served for five decades.