During the 1970’s the Arnolfini Art Centre was one of the first redevelopment schemes for the harbor of Bristol. Since then the area has become one of Britain’s most popular leisure zones. The ‘Good Life’ project was developed for the 2009 ‘Good Life’ exhibition at Arnolfini, voluntarily speculating on the near future of this area.
Using the Arnolfini warehouse as a point of departure, we focused on the potential real-estate dynamics attained by stacking spaces, instead of stacking programs. Four resolutely differing levels make up a new iconographic urban ensemble. From top to bottom one can find: a hollowed out brick core embracing a public garden, an air mass topped by a convex mirroring ceiling sucking in the immediate context, a balancing concrete mass constantly doubting between public/private city views (a spa?), and finally an elegant three-dimensional grid offering stunning panoramas on Bristol (apartments?). The project was developed with the Belgian artists Katleen Vermeir and Ronny Heirmans, who investigated how this ‘space pile’ could or could not be embraced by the local real-estate agencies – further blurring the project’s presence between fiction and potential nearby reality.