Delfina Foundation

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Delfina Foundation

'A courtyard for Cultural Exchange' is Threefold's entry to an invited competition by Delfina Foundation to expand their existing international artist residency and exhibition spaces located close to Buckingham Palace, London.

The proposal creates a spatial environment for shared experience of language, cooking, music and personal histories, through the introduction of a middle eastern inspired courtyard at the front of the building. The courtyard runs through the full height of the building and is the fulcrum point through which all circulation passes, linking activities to create an architecture without internal corridors or barriers. A place of exchange where programs overlap and intersect, fostering dialogue between residents, members of the public and staff.

In collaboration with Morrocan artist Younes Rahmoun, we have designed a dramatic brass wire screen and staircase that forms a permeable envelope to the space. The development of the screen has been inspired by the classical Mashrabiya privacy screens and acts as both a physical and metaphorical threshold through which you pass on entrance to the building.

In keeping with the layout of traditional MENA courtyard houses, the arrangement of spaces places public circulation to the front and lower floors, with more private spaces graduating to the back and top of of the building. A passive ventilation strategy is used to cool the building, exploiting the 'stack effect' by drawing in cool air at low level over a pool at the bottom of the courtyard and exhausting hot air through opening rooflights at the top of the courtyard at roof level.