Gibraltar - A college Scheme design following a visit in 1975:
The design followed a trip organised by the head tutor of the then Hull School of Architecture, Geoffrey Whittlestone, in conjunction with the then Property Services Agency, a branch of the British government's Ministry of Defence.
One feature of this exercise was the decision to treat the architectural designs that we carried out as subject only to the regulations normally required of buildings in Gibraltar. This meant that there were no building regulations as such to be applied. While we make a rule that we would aim to maintain reasonable standards commensurate with those applied in the UK, the freedom from normal rules enhanced significantly the educational value of the project, at least for this student. The freedom from normal building regulations throughout the design process allowed an exploration of possibilities not otherwise possible.
Another feature of this project arose from designing for the indigenous people presently occupying the peninsular. Designing for people with even only a slightly different culture from our own lent added value, and this was enhanced further by the influences of the topography of the rock of Gibraltar and the town of Gibraltar.
The rock itself causes most of the old town of Gibraltar in which our projects were located to occupy a slope that averages 40 deg. from the horizontal. Too steep for vehicular access, pedestrian routes are via 'ramps' and 'passages'. The passages are as the word suggests: external corridors between dwellings and running close to horizontally along the contours of the slope. The 'ramps' are stairs following the slope of the rock, and which act as corridors but running at right angles to the passages.
One strong observation I made at the time concerned mobility of the older generations of the indigenous people. The proximity of the extended families in the community along with the many ramps provided motivation for the older people to walk up and down the ramps and along passages, keeping them active, cheerful, and content.
THE GIBRALTAR PROJECT
THE GIBRALTAR PROJECT