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08/17/2013 / katiemcgivney

Harris Flights: Interview with architect Charlie MacKeith Part 1

Part 1 of an interview with Charlie MacKeith, architect at research design about the Harris Flights installation, 17th August – 15th September 2013

On his background and relationship with the Harris “growing up on the edge of Blackpool the Harris was one of the key cultural centres”

On the initial remit for the design “the design is an idea about, how we could make a stair a stage and the different ways of doing that, and it would have to be for a very short period. We didn’t know where the money was coming from. This isn’t London its more exciting, what can you do with virtually nothing”

On the choice to feature a performance space “its a setting, a framework for something much more important for whats going to go on, which are the 60 events taking place on it. Now thats the exciting thing. It was not ‘design a staircase’, it was design a neutral background for these activities”

On original architect James Hibbert’s original design plans for the Harris “I love the arrogance of the guy, you know hes an elderman of Preston, and he has this vision (…) as Prestons getting grander and grander theres this need to express its value, its civic importance, and that is done through a gothic guild hall in the 1860’s, but then along comes this incredible museum, an art gallery and library. It’s all about improvement of the citizens of Preston, its an extrordinary gesture (…) theres this realisation its now the most important thing in the square’

On the navigation of the building “you have to be initiated to get in, its not a welcoming, inviting building, so we wanted to play a game with that blank wall”

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