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Corina Thomas

MA work

Castra Logica

Pub camp for Amazon workers in Coalville, Leicestershire

My thesis project deals with architecture’s relationship to spaces of production and consumption in the contemporary city. The project began with a dialogue between a Roman archetype – Trajan's Market – and Radical Italian architects UFO's Project for Florence University. An initial Archive explores the shift from industrial society to consumer culture that took place in the 1960s, and the dialogue between architectural monuments and decentralised urbanism. 

Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA) operates an incredible logistics empire, building enormous air-conditioned sheds in rural backwaters to fill our lust for stuff. Amazon’s model is reliant on just-in-time employment to cope with periods of increased demand, hiring agency workers on short-term contracts. In places such as Coalville, thousands of seasonal workers are hired by Amazon to cover the Christmas rush, working 12-hour shifts to meet stringent production targets but denied the benefits of being a full employee. As a result of long commutes and the nature of shift work, there are limited chances to form community. This project asks whether architecture can provide the condition for these dispersed workers to become a collective body.

The proposal is for a huge pub for the workforce of the 100,000m2 FBA centre in Coalville. The irrationality of Britain's favourite pastime meets the strict logic of the Roman military camp. This 'pub camp' expands across the landscape using a series of fixed elements – roads and monuments – combined with the possibility for seasonal activities following the Amazon calendar. Thus, a food and drink lodge spills out into a seasonal food market; a nightclub hosts a market for defective goods; a gig venue becomes an amphitheatre for gathering the whole workforce. In these transitory moments of activity, the workers discover opportunities for negotiating friction, sharing goals and celebrating diversity. 

The camp forces Coalville and the warehouse to relate to each other, acknowledging the way platforms such as Amazon have transformed 21st Century labour relations. Accepting the possibility of the warehouse's full automation or redundancy, the camp will develop into a new settlement, one where the communal facilities arrive first; a city of collective rituals.

Info

  • MA Degree

    School

    School of Architecture

    Programme

    MA Architecture, 2018

  • I am passionate about a variety of creative subjects including architecture, illustration, digital art, sketching and music. I strive to design in a way that is imaginative and socially responsible, with an attention to detail and the diversity of users. A keen interest in science fiction has led me to research the ways new technologies are impacting our lives, and how the current challenges the world faces are opportunities for innovation. My curiosity leads me to keep learning and exploring new subjects as I grow as a designer.

  • Degrees

  • BArch, University of Sheffield, 2014
  • Experience

  • RIBA Part 1 Architectural Assistant, OMI Architects, Manchester, 2014 - 2016; Youth Ambassador, Open City Architectural Education, 2007 - 2011
  • Exhibitions

  • Intentions, Walter Knoll Showroom, London, 2018; Blueprint For The Future, Bisley Showroom, London, 2018