Student: Danielle Janicas
Advisor: Fabrizio Gallanti and Martin Bressani
Studio: Design Studio Option (DST)
Year/Term: Fall 2016
The Hamilton Asylum for the Insane once overlooked the escarpment in isolation: the view towards lower town was
meant to be scenic, tranquil and calming to the patients. Since demolished, the last remaining part of the asylum is Century Manor, known as the ‘Victorian Gothic edifice’ which has sat abandoned on the mountain brow for the past two decades. Now, this site has been said to have a status of
‘lost property’ – a bit detached from the city and the place it once was.
This project proposes a memory landscape on the grounds of the former asylum. All buildings on site have been removed, except for the Century Manor along with three other buildings of interest. Through various interventions, the project puts emphasis on the history of the place and its transformations through time. The intention is to engage memory and history, using the past as a sort of legible trace on the landscape to understand the shifts and modifications of ‘sites-on-time.’
This project also proposes a connection with the escarpment, seeing the terrain as a new node of change between the upper part of the city and the area below. It is both a visual cue and a tangible connection. The design perforates the underground, creating a subterranean architecture of circulation and rooms that extend out to the escarpment. Once at the escarpment, the cliff becomes a steep and dramatic backdrop to viewing platforms framing the city below. Ultimately, the design is a platform that overlooks while also being looked at from below.