Women at War by Charlotte Wilson
at Free Range


Click above for larger image

London Metropolitan University Leeds Metropolitan University graduate Charlotte Wilson was awarded Best in Show at London graduate show Free Range this year for her proposal to convert a bunker into a museum.

Charlotte Wilson at Free Range

The existing RAF Bempton bunker in Yorkshire, UK is built into a cliff-side and would be be transformed into a museum celebrating the role of women during war.

Charlotte Wilson at Free Range

The bunker would be dug out in areas to reveal its three metre-thick walls and create a series of courtyards open to the air.

Charlotte Wilson at Free Range

A glazed roof over one section would have water flowing over it and down a wall etched with the names of pivotal women from past wars.

Charlotte Wilson at Free Range

Part of the bunker would protrude out of the cliff to create a viewing platform over the sea.

Charlotte Wilson at Free Range

Here's some more from Wilson:

"Situated within a unique cliff side location in Bempton lies the RAF Bempton bunker. Disintegrating and of great historical interest, it is proposed the site will be sensitively renovated and reclaimed.

‘Women . War . Peace’ will be a new and exciting war museum with the pure focus of Women and War. Journeying through the exhibition will illustrate the compassion, realism, horrors and bravery seen and felt through the eyes of women during war time, both on the front-line and behind the scenes. This museum interrogates the creativity of learning through emotional and experiential spaces and details.

Charlotte Wilson at Free Range

By breaking out of the bunker from it’s central pit space, the architectural language conveys the juxtaposition between the protective shell of the bunker and it’s contrasting dangerous subject matter. Through this process the bunker’s thick 3.3 metre walls are revealed and with this, external underground courtyards are created, allowing for pause and contemplation throughout the experience. The whole experience will be of constant enlightenment, with natural light increasingly puncturing underground and views being progressively exposed.

Charlotte Wilson at Free Range

The bunker accommodates four main stages, Past, Present, Reflection and Remembrance;

Past. The main Exhibition Space is located within and around the bunker with the focused narrative being of the two different stories of ‘Women at War’ (situated within the bunkers walls) and ‘Women at Home’ (breaking out of the bunker to create new spaces). This gives the idea of the Women at Home being ‘Behind the Scenes’ and supporting the Women at War.

Charlotte Wilson at Free Range

Click above for larger image

This experience will house the stories of Women from 1914 to 2000 through interactive stations, silo spaces and archived resources with the experience being of an intimate nature. At the heart of the exhibition is an interactive time line structure which contains an immersive eerie environment within it’s walls reminding the visitor of ‘absence’. This structure is impertive as a collective point and a place to delve deeper into the information.

Charlotte Wilson at Free Range

Click above for larger image

Present. This experience takes place within the Souterrain and courtyard spaces and is dedicated to the stories of women of war from 2000 to the present day. Water flows along a glazed roof and enters into the space flowing down a wall, etched with the names of admirable Women, before the tunnel punctures through the cliff face to reveal a viewing platform over the sea.

Charlotte Wilson at Free Range

Click above for larger image

Reflection and Remembrance. This viewing platform allows for the visitor to reflect over the information gleaned whilst looking out to sea. As this space is partially exposed, visitors will begin to feel a sense of freedom as they listen to the birds song.

Charlotte Wilson at Free Range

Click above for larger image

Future. After ascending back up to ground level, the visitor is able to look back on underground spaces with a new perspective as they wonder freely back along the site. A proposed viewing platform will rise into the sky, allowing a view over the explosive narrative of the site."

See also:


East Mountain
by Johan Berglund
Cottages at Fallingwater
by Patkau Architects
Urezkoenea House
by Peña Ganchegui

Posted on Wednesday July 28th 2010 at 5:37 pm by Joe Mills. Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • I like the scale of the building. Stunning.

  • boo

    This looks good, surprisingly good.

    For anyone who thinks a war memorial is just about the past — they should visit the memorial in the castle in Edinburgh. Breathtaking! Beautiful and evocative.

    This project could create the same feeling.

  • It’s a very well done place, reminds me of a trench! Good job!

  • Kaz

    I’m sure she went to Leeds Metropolitan University. I may be wrong though. This was an amazing project & beautifully presented. Well done on winning the award. :)

  • mick

    That sounds poetic but… really scares me! It is a strange mixture of the beauty of the landscape and violence instead of architecture .

  • I saw this project at the Free Range exhibition earlier this month. Great portfolio and certainly worth a closer look.

  • Cela resemble énormément au memorial de la deportation de Pingusson à Paris.

  • heather

    truly stunning and very moving. Most impressed. This girl deserves a top position in her field. Well done

  • dan

    couldnt find proper images, but just on google: http://www.google.com.hk/images?hl=en&q=moshe

    This project really resembles Safdie's holocaust museum in Jerusalem, especially the plan. . .

  • This is a fantastic project and it is a true credit to her course at Leeds Metropolitan. Charlotte is headed for BIG things!

  • poopy

    Scary… shoulda been a jail

  • herny ford

    this girl deserves a brilliant job. great work miss wilson!

  • Oliver

    Excellent work. The quality of the first image is stunning.

  • Martin

    Its an interesting project but I fail to see the brilliance here. Or maybe I can't see past the naff images of models posing and pointing at ivy hanging from a concrete wall.

  • Jamie

    Just a wonderful piece of design…. well done!

  • vinit

    nicely done inspired from suprematism right

  • lior

    Scary, I did almost an identical project 12 years ago in Scotland …..
    i.e. very good project to my view but i am biased, well-done!

  • noda_m

    somehow reminds me of tadao ando's chichu museum. i like it. hope to see it build

  • jretief11

    Christ! i despair!

    This has all the hallmarks of cliche student work:




    99% of student architecture proposals feature these future ghosts ‘inhabiting’ their designs.

    I find it peculiar that you would spend months designing a series of spaces characterized by massive 3 meter thick walls, only to fill them with ‘beings’ who historically can walk through them.

    I suppose the aggressive liebskindesque floorplan is potentially more enjoyable if you dont have to adhere to it.

    if your going to design for ghosts dont design at all. its lost on them.

  • The language talks about enlightenment and exposing views, but from the section it appears that you never get out of the trench- worse, you are underwater up until the very end. Instead of sticking out of a tube, why not create an outdoor space? Fitting tribute though if these shapes can be reclaimed.

  • vivian

    i'm sorry but it's like a copy of libeskind.

  • Sarah

    More than 'inspired' by the Jewish Museum in Berlin…

  • Literartura

    Una idea muy similar, sin duda también mucho más poética, la tuvo Eduardo Chillida. Revísese en comparación con el proyecto de este post.