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Electric Wharf

Design Statement

Through research and on-site documentation Larry and David constructed a knowledge pool characterised by a shared respect for the age-value of the place. This became crucial guidance for subsequent decisions about finishes and materials (particularly the opportunities for recycling materials), scale and manner of new-build intervention, and how inherent content and cultural value could be revealed and expressed. Important to this knowledge-building process was the early involvement of Charlie Gallagher, whose contribution was 'written in' to the Public Art Strategy.

In the Design Statement document there were recommendations for material specifications, such as choice of metals, timbers, graphics, surfaces, colours and so on. One of the initial ideas from the planning application was to use lettering painted directly onto the building which is a traditional method on canalside buildings. The client was keen to 'name' the buildings and David had researched a sequence of numbers indicating an increase in electricity consumers between 1896 (first year of operation of the Electric Light Works) to 1936 etc. This intervention provided a visual clue to past users of the site.

Other areas of influence were the use of reclaimed sleepers; (this idea was a response to the adjacent Daimler building which had a railway siding); the layout of the sleepers to create a wave of timber); the creation of retaining gabions hosting materials reclaimed from the site; sheets of steel embedded with the floorscape; exposed brick in strategic locations, and the retention of the major steel structure within one of the gardens of the residential units. Use of salvaged materials from the demolition was a central theme with regard to sustainability. Demolition material was reused where possible on site, minimising landfill, recycled materials were used throughout the development and internal structures were made from sustainable timber.

The planting was based on reinforcing the abandoned derelict nature of the old buildings as they were found prior to starting work and plants were chosen as being from the era in which the building was originally constructed.

Follow this link to download the Design Statement as a Richtext Format document: 20 Kb