Featured Student Project: Créer Cavalier by Emily Martin
Architecture Student Portfolio
Créer Cavalier | Habiliter Les Femmes Creating Riders | Empowering Women by Emily Martin
Créer Cavalier | Habiliter Les Femmes is a project which aims to contest and combat the long-standing gender inequalities of France through empowering the women of Marseille using equestrian activities to build physical and mental strength as well as confidence and self-esteem to proclaim and provoke the evidently patriarchal societal state of the City.
With my personal experience of Marseille being one of constant unease, anxiety and worry, where many incidents of fear were encountered, it was immediately obvious to me which direction my project would engage in with my overall perception of the city being that it is very difficult to be a woman in Marseille. The struggle women must endure daily was exhausting and terrifying at times and the suffering needed to stop, the city needed saving and my proposal would endeavour to equalise the population through empowerment.
Therapeutic riding is used to mentally and physically stimulate people and aid in the development of a better quality of life through improved strength, increased self-confidence, and a greater feeling of freedom and independence. Therapy counsellor Gabrielle Gardner says, “One of the reasons I think equine-assisted therapies work so well is that everyone has a reaction to horses… people either love them or fear them, so that’s two big emotions that immediately reflect what most of life’s issues revolve around. If you can work with an animal like this and overcome the fear, then this can be reflected back into society.” Once being in contact with a horse, a bond is formed, and a sense of empowerment, trust and confidence reside in the overcoming of an initial anxiety. It is this boost in self-esteem which is needed of the women in Marseille and it is this which my project will provide.
The project aims to establish architecture as a tool to equalize society through establishing and exemplifying the women’s authority in such a patriarchal city. The spatial ambitions of the building will employ a succession of spaces working from the more vulnerable women of society at a grassroots level down to the more confident women with elite level riding/ knowledge. Whilst progressing down to embodied empowerment the women are making their way down to street level for the weekly marches that will parade the city. The horse will act as a therapeutic tool for change aiming to alleviate society of their assumption that women are weak.
Women will stand strong and preach to the public using the Marseille Mounted March to proclaim the city via encounters and gatherings of performance and shows as a method of teaching to save society.
The poetics in the architectural form denote an arrangement which follows the site’s recognised symbol of power. An poetics in the materiality express an engagement with the city in a diffusion of golden goodness as the extruded efforts of the women breach the box and push through the system, through the concrete cracks of the facade, entering into the City in a bold attempt to brighten the mood of Marseille through an exposure of empowerment.
Name: Emily Martin
Project name: Créer Cavalier | Habiliter Les Femmes Creating Riders | Empowering Women
University: Canterbury School of Architecture (UCA) Year 3