Having fallen upon hard times since the decline of the domestic tourism industry in the early 1970s, Margate is now one of the most deprived towns in the UK, enduring worryingly high levels of unemployment, low levels of education, and rising homelessness. The council’s hopes for revival remain pinned upon tourism and passive gentrification, neither of which truly address these pressing issues. Instead, the existing residents are being slowly pushed out of the town.
Manual suggests that the act of building holds value to the wider community, beyond the use of a finished architectural product. The full life cycle of a building - from conception to obsolescence - is to be harnessed as an educational tool. The project proposes a system, which aims to involve the local Margate community in the re-formation of a community building situated within the derelict Margate Lido. Participants can begin to design and construct their own unprogrammed space using designed architectonic components, the forms of which draw on Margate's vernacular architectures. Through the act of construction, not only are Margate's citizens able to acquire useful construction skills, but also are presented with a rare opportunity for self-determination.
As the project progressed, the act of drawing shifted from being a solo act to a collaborative effort mediating between many possible visions for the Lido. Areas of common interest within the Lido were identified, and individual ideas and proposals analysed, searching for a proposal which lay in between.
Manual intends for the shell of the Lido to become the starting point for a new, community-designed and community-built architecture. This emerges through a designed game, scored and recorded by the architect.
The score for the designed game was explored over two nested timelines: the individual turn and the sequence of many turns. These timelines embody both the acts of the lone individual, and the acts of the community. The score is to script as the game is to a performance; the ensuing drawing, then, is a recording of this performance.