I made these lists (based on the writings of Christopher Alexander) in order to help me organize the spaces and volumes in my overall vision for the site plan of the Marsa Open Centre.
The first is basically a list of all the components that will make up the Centre and give it life; "the building blocks" of the project. The second list is made up of the features that already exist on the site. Alexander writes that "the crux of the problem of making the site plan lies in the task of reconciling the two systems of centers - that means finding a new structure which unfolds from the existing wholeness, and which then embodies the centers of the pattern language within the centers that exist on the site." (Alexander, 174)
The following post will show the results of the process of site planning that began with and tried to embody the ideals of the list below.
The centers of the Marsa Open Centre
A) As defined by the pattern language (needs)
> The site is made up of a series of public yards (or plazas) that define transitional/meeting spaces
> Each yard is defined by a particular theme and addresses a particular programmatic requirement
> The housing yard is the only one that is mainly for MOC residents and it is therefore the most private
> Each yard has seating in the shade and gardens
The framing buildings
> The yards are surrounded by buildings that support the theme of that yard and provide amenities
> There is always a place for eating
> Multistorey buildings typically have public facilites on the ground floor and housing above
The canal street
> The yards along the canal are linked by the most public of streets which is broad, shaded, slightly raised and has seating along the canal wall
> Bridges branch off the canal street and provide an entrance to each of the yards from across the canal
> The bridges are the links between the MOC and Marsa
> The main street of commerce and public life
> It follows the edge of the main housing building from the entrance yard to the housing yard (the entire length of the site, N-S)
Main street (working title)
> This street connects the more public yards near the canal with the housing yard at the back of the site.
> It has a mixture of facilites related more towards MOC residents.
> Mainstreet intersects with the market street at the entrance to the housing yard where there is a community garden
The triangle and olive mill
> This piece of land in the middle of the canal is a sunny public garden and the tranistional space between Marsa and the MOC. It has a small olive oil mill run by migrants and Maltese
The yards in detail
> The entrance yard is the first place of welcome for the center. It is very public and provides a link between the small library and the entrance. The entrance yard will become a more quiet place when the main entrance shifts to the market yard in the future
> The market yard is the largest yard and the heart of public life at the MOC. It is where the Maltese and asylum seekers will have the most interaction. It consists of a shaded outdoor marketplace, a mosque, a canal promenade, and a stormwater treatment wetland
> The recreation yard has the football pitch as its focal point. It is surrounded by mostly recreational facilities but also a transitional building that links it with the housing yard.
> The housing yard is the most private yard. It is surrounded by housing and communal facilities for more permanent MOC resi dents as well as housing for women and families
B) As defined by thephysical site
> A place for sitting and coming into contact with the water, canal defines the MOC’s Western side. The canal connects the public yards
> The wall that separates the MOC from the government yards to the East and South defines the site on these sides. It is well- oriented for vertical planting
The factory tower
> This 3-storey tower is on the MOC site but is part of the goverment yards. It provides a way to separate the more public activies of the market yard from the more private housing yard
> This slight concave hollow in the land slopes toward the canal in the market yard. It is a natural place for biological treatment of runoff and helps to define the yard as a communal gathering place
> This is the most "green" place in the MOC and most appropriate for larger-scale agriculture
Alexander, Christopher. The Nature of Order, Book 3: A Vision of a Living World. Berkley, California: The Center for Environmental Structure, 2005.