Windows-Eyes of Dwelling
This project takes the social histories and rituals of Sheppey, and manifests them into an archive of the forgotten citizens of the island. It treats the church building as a container for an archive of genealogy; a library of ancestry of the people. It connects directly to the war memorial, outside the train station, through a new path; one that commemorates the war heroes of the island through embedding their names on bronze pavers, set into the path. As you walk towards the church, or back to the memorial you can read the names of the fallen, under your feet, as they guide you to the church.
This journey leads to the first and most dramatic intervention into the building; a direct path that shears off the terrace-edge of the church and creates a new route through the side of the archive. This ambiguous space, neither inside nor out, does three things; it connects the memorial directly to the building and an old forgotten path to the docks, which will be reopened with this project. It exposes the old structure of the building; a symbol of its past and future. And, it creates a new connection to the garden, accessed once the corner is turned and the visitor moves towards the sea. From this point visitors enter the archive and can participate in a quiet, industrious space, where they can look up family-trees, read books, and immerse themselves in the peoples histories.
Upon leaving, visitors move into the garden. The tower rehouses the scorpion colony of the site; one of only three in the UK- refugees from the old days of the docks. Here the past and the future combine in this viewing platform in the garden, offering a view across the Thames estuary.