Caitriona McGhee - Sheffield School of Architecture
Caitriona McGhee’s ’Last Orders’ is a test bed for redefining the nature of alcohol consumption; it proposes an experimental building typology for the furtherance of the pub which needs to diversify if it is to survive.
This project aligns itself with the premise that communities do not just occur or exist but require care, sustenance and nourishment; the pub is a locale of consumption which provides a service that is fundamental for the social cohesion of a community - but the pub is under threat. Last Orders is a test bed for redefining the nature of alcohol consumption; it proposes an experimental building typology for the furtherance of the pub. It combines a pub with a funeral parlor and coffin production workshop to create a model which is economically resilient and operationally efficient.
It’s time to for the pub to reflect upon its position; the existing model of the pub, both organisational and spatial, needs to diversify if it is to survive. Last Orders wishes to improve it by creating a more dynamic and responsive architecture which has the contingent ability to change with consumption patterns, drinking cultures and legislation. In the interest of flexibility and market resilience, the project aligns itself with Cedric Prices’ dictum that a building should adapt or die.
The starting point of Studio 9 was Karl Marx’s understanding of Production and Consumption as outlined in his Grundrisse. If one accepts his premise that consumption is a crucial and final part of production, that all acts of production are also acts of consumption and vice versa, that the consumer also becomes a producer, then a transformation of the spaces or of consumption have to take place ultimately leading to a ’redefinition of the architecture of consumption’.
Caitriona McGhee’s project ’Last Orders’ took on one of the spaces of consumption that we are all familiar with - the English pub. By subjecting this typology to a vigorous typological and economic analysis she developed a programmatic hybrid in which the different functions - pub, undertaker, coffin manufacturing - would not only subject the respective consumers and producers to unexpected thought-provoking temporal and spatial moments but would also secure economic sustainability for those operating the building.
The project’s strength is in its imaginative narrative, its considered contextual and tectonic approach that led to a very sensitive massing and formal language, as well as an carefully designed details that all reflected, in one form or another, the notion of productive consumption and consumptive production.
Florian Kossak, Studio 9 ’ Redefining the Architecture of Consumption’