Residential Development – Planning and Design, Sheil Park, Liverpool, 2004

Res­id­en­tial Devel­op­ment — Plan­ning and Design, Sheil Park, Liv­er­pool, 2004 #

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Research pro­ject: archive images and ori­gin­al pho­to­graphs of Sheil Park by Mar­cus Coates

Sheil Park is a hous­ing devel­op­ment in Liv­er­pool. Built in 2004, it was designed to re-house the res­id­ents of the con­demned res­id­en­tial tower blocks that once stood on this site.

This research sets out to trace the cul­tur­al ideas and images that inspired the plan­ning and design of this new hous­ing development.

Amongst some of the more obvi­ous influ­ences are the rituals and artistry of the indi­gen­ous cul­tures of Nat­ive Amer­ic­an and First Nations peoples, par­tic­u­larly the Dakota (Santee and Yank­ton-Yank­tonai), Lakota, Navajo, Cher­o­kee and Paiute.

Dakota women’s knife with bead-embroidered sheath and Façade brick pattern

Navajo blanket design and Dec­or­at­ive corner bricks

Mono Lake Paiute coiled bas­ket and Garden pave­ment designs

Dakota beaded snake shaped pouch, con­tains and pre­serves a baby’s umbil­ic­al cord and Sheil Park street layout

The lay­out of the estate is centred around a shaped road which resembles the wind­ing curve of the snake sym­bol. The snake is an import­ant myth­ic­al anim­al to Nat­ive Amer­ic­an people. For many, the shed­ding skin rep­res­ents life, death and rebirth.

Woven belt with geo­met­ric design and Dec­or­at­ive brickwork

Buri­al scaf­folds and Archi­tec­tur­al construction

The pur­pose of this archi­tec­tur­al con­struc­tion is unknown. How­ever, it is very sim­il­ar struc­tur­ally and in scale to a Dakota buri­al scaf­fold. These scaf­folds are tra­di­tion­ally 7 to 8 feet high, 10 feet long, and 4 or 5 feet wide. Posts are set firmly in the ground, on which is made a floor­ing of small poles. The dead body is then care­fully wrapped and laid to rest on the platform.

Cher­o­kee bas­ket weave and Brick pav­ing design

An open paved space on the out­skirts of the devel­op­ment has with­in it a single ver­tic­al pole. The Sun Dance rituals of the Dakota and Lakota are one of the most import­ant events of their year, when many people come togeth­er for dan­cing, singing and oth­er rituals. Some choose to inflict great pain upon them­selves by pier­cing their chest muscles with pegs which are attached by lengths of rope or sinew to the top of a pole against which they pull or hang.

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