The Brief: ‘How could we could re-imagine the possibilities for Phoenix Nursery? How could design interventions communicate these possibilities? How can a two dimensional objects inhabit a three dimensional space? What constitutes a boundary? How permeable can a barrier be? We created a series of façades to explore these questions as well as announce the occupation of Civic House.
After scoping the Phoenix Nursery site from a number of perspectives – micro, macro, historical – our first move involved removing parts of the perimeter fence. This simple direct action immediately made the space accessible from a number of directions and offered routes and pathways through the site. Working at a range of scales, a false-perspective sign is designed to catch the attention of passers by and encourage them to examine the site from a range of angles. At the front and rear of the site the sign (typographic shapes which are simple and modular – based on the educational toys of the nursery that once stood on site), is integrated into the patchwork of surrounding fences – the latest addition to what could possibly be Europe’s most dense fence-type to square kilometre ratio.
A new elevated platform at the north-east corner of the site suggests multiple uses; a threshold, entry point, vantage point and possible performance area, referring back to Phoenix park and its bandstand which was once situated where the nearby M8 motorway now runs. Between the two, a series of vertical lines (wooden poles and pvc pipes) combine to suggest a line through the site and provide a framework upon which other things could be hung or built. Last but not least an improvised musical instrument made from a combination of re-purposed GSA MFA artwork from the nearby Glue Factory, and staves from cut pieces of the sites perimeter fence, a xylophone (or die-lo-phone to give it its proper health and safety defying name) sits at the corner of the site.
Neil McGuire, A Feral Studio