Exploring The Meticulousness of Hand Drawing
A Roamers Retreat – Re-activating Conisbrough Viaduct (Conisbrough, UK)
The Trans Pennine Trail is a long-distance path running from coast to coast across Northern England entirely on surfaced paths and using only gentle gradients. In the East, the Trail follows the River Dearne to Conisbrough, South-East of Doncaster, where it passes the magnificent Conisbrough Viaduct, impossible to overlook with its 18 arches, 150 foot lattice iron girder span over the river, and 1,527 feet in length. The Viaduct is a beauty spot, seemingly untouched since its 1966 closure and the potential for a ‘roamers retreat’ would re-activate its use, re-connect the community with the countryside and enhance and promote the Trans Pennine Trail. It is community, that is a central focus for this proposal. Travel feeds the brain, it tests character and evokes fear from unfamiliar surroundings. The roamers retreat at Conisbrough Viaduct aims to strengthen community, provide a friendly hub for wanderers, and encourage a unique style of hospitality, sleeping beneath the arches.
The concept intertwines the old with the new, as this 6 year Mountain Bothies Association ‘work party’ will endeavor to celebrate the viaduct. A timber truss will represent that of what would have been used to construct the original brick viaduct. Bricks will be re-pointed across the viaduct over the course of a 6 year period with the aid of an intricate but temporary steel scaffolding system, so it is completed in time to celebrate the Silver Jubilee of the Trans Pennine Trail. A reinstated track along the top of the bridge will allow a cantilevering scaffolding system to move down the viaduct throughout the six year period, providing access to and from the arches below. General landscaping works will be carried out atop the viaduct allowing communal social activities to occur, the three arches will provide on-site accommodation using the idiosyncratic bothy typology for working holiday volunteers of the Mountain Bothies Association, accommodation for trailers, both individually and in groups, and activity spaces. Bicycle storage facilities will also be provided.
When the celebration ends, the scaffolding and structural work as well as timber trusses, will be removed, the enhanced landscaping atop the viaduct will be complete and in use, and the bothies will have been plugged back into the countryside as a legacy. A new structure, accessed via the small entrance atop the interrupting iron girder, will transport you down to a scenic rest stop, to be used as a headquarters base for the Mountain Bothies Association and an area to rest along the Trans Pennine Trail for those intending to go on, and for those hoping to veer off towards Doncaster. The benefits of the rest stop being the views out into the countryside as you hover above the River Don.
Who influences you graphically?
Architecturally speaking, I’ve always been influenced by Junya Ishigami and how he seeks to integrate architecture and landscape in such novel and fantastical ways.
I am a keen fellwalker and have also often been inspired by Alfred Wainwright’s beautifully crafted guidebooks of the UK Lake District and beyond. With the concept of my project based upon walking, trailing and nature, I decided to apply Wainwright’s illustrative style to my own work both in 2D and 3D representation. My aim was to try and use the meticulousness of hand drawing just like Wainwright and Ishigami did and have done, to capture some mesmerising visuals that best enhanced my project.
What defined the method/s of representation through which you choose to reveal the project?
I have always endeavored to be versatile in how I reveal and communicate my projects and so I enjoy combining different skills whether it be sketching, modelmaking or photography. I began by investigating a diverse range of artists and analysing their own methods of representation. I ultimately wanted to convey the themes and ideas of my project in a culturally significant way.
An ongoing theme of my project was re-activation and pride, and I began my project by studying Paul Luke’s ‘Doncaster’s Dignity’ poem which celebrates the rich history and culture of Doncaster and the surrounding region. As my ideas evolved, I sought out new poetic ways to convey my proposal whether it be through 2D or 3D drawing, mapping, diagram, film or physical model.
How important was the model? To what extent could you have exploited it more?
A physical model can characterise a project in a way that no drawing can. Everybody loves to get up close and personal with a model, to approach it from different angles and to investigate the spatial qualities of the design and site. I chose timber to represent the lost timber boatmaking industry in medieval Doncaster as well as linking to the construction techniques used to erect the viaduct back in the early 1900’s. I think that to further advance the model, I could have enlarged the scale further to provide more detail.
What is your take on colour?
I love colour, but as my work has developed over time I have begun to value the power of monochromatic colours even more. I also felt that black and white was most appropriate for the project concept based on my drawing style. That said, I am always testing new ideas and I have begun weaving elements of golds, greens and blues into my drawings as well as combining these hand drawn images with different mediums such as acrylic paint, watercolours and pencil.
Did you ever think of turning this into an animated drawing?
It is actually a direction I have begun to further explore. I took a film-making and compositing class recently with an aim to strengthen my skills and begin to test sketches and design ideas through film. There’s a big future for Architecture and Film and I am eager to be a part of it.
Ryan is currently completing his MArch Master of Architecture Degree at The University of Westminster.