Located on the former site of the Dudley Colliery, the Coal-Ective scheme proposes introducing a new Live-Work community into the heart of a tiring village.
The project aims to fully integrate itself within the existing community through two key initiatives: Firstly, to provide the existing residents with the key amenities they currently lack, (such as a market hall, day care & club house). Secondly, creating 20 new live/work dwellings of varying sizes, thus drawing in new, creatively driven families and individuals to repopulate Dudley’s dwindling numbers.
The Live/Work scheme will provide on-site opportunities for the community, especially the young, to raise their aspirations though access to the creative industry and other career opportunities.
Who influences you graphically?
Naturally over the course of my Masters I have drawn inspiration from a variety of sources, however there have been two areas in which I have paid particular attention. Primarily I have drawn from the works of fellow Architectural students and schools across the country, most notably the AA. As students, perhaps our place within the educational world affords us the freedom to experiment with unanticipated material & spatial relationships otherwise expected within the ‘real world’. Moreover, this medium of ‘post-digital rendering’ allows a degree of user interpretation which photorealistic rendering removes.
Outside of the world of Architecture, I have also found the work from the artist Rodney Graham particularly influential. Across his photographic series his use of hyper-realistic colours, theatrical staging and attention to detail eagerly invites the viewer to create fantastical scenarios for each image. The shared memories these images evoke is an element I try to attain within my own work.
What defined the aesthetic language of the proposal?
A close combination of the site’s heritage and the scheme itself. Firstly, I’ve always found the process of historically researching any given site fascinating, especially those whose modern-day personas reflect nothing of their heritage. Given the schemes location on the site of the old colliery, an instant industrial materiality was evoked, thus continuing with a language intrinsically linked to the location.
Secondly, as the scheme proposes the creation of a Live/Work community, adding an element of fun or creativity through the use of colour would provoke an instant relationship between the built environment and the user. However, these colours also play a significant role in maintaining the schemes relationship with the wider landscape in that each can be identified as ‘versions’ of colours drawn directly from the neighbouring lands.
What is your take on the art of collage?
I find that collage demands intimacy, both from the creator and the observer. Just as it was/is in the physical world, computer aided collage demands that each element be cut, shaped, and moulded individually, thus adding that extra layer of purpose and precision that might otherwise be lost through the use of a ‘fill’ tool.
Additionally, as previously mentioned there is an element of fluidity and the abstract in a collage which would be unusual to find in today’s ‘traditional’ render. I find there is something about a collage which makes it feel like it’s a work in progress, or rather, that it is presenting one version of a reality. Like any piece of art, a collage invites the user to add their own experiences or create their own depictions, therefore making it human and ultimately; believable.
How were the images developed? Did one influence the other? How did they follow your line of thought and project development?
Long before the scheme had a plan, a series of scenarios or spaces were sketched – fragments of a reality I imagined unfolding across the scheme. Using these scenarios as cornerstones, the project could continue to build up around them until a new level of depth and humanity was demanded.
The actual process of generating the images is relatively simple (if not a little time consuming). The sketches were translated in CAD into feasible plans, which were then modelled in SketchUp. The 3D model was then exported as a DWG/PDF and opened into Photoshop, from which materials could then be added. However, naturally this process wasn’t always linear as dozens of iterations were made at each stage of the process.
One element of this process which I always found beneficial was to physically print out copies of each iteration. Although the art of sketching is still practised within Architectural Schools, work is becoming increasingly computer-based. But by simply printing off work, design explorations can be made instantly (or at least as quickly as one can draw) and these notes can be easily accessed and reflected upon at whatever stage of the project.