Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Vertical Studio Site Analysis

Bradford Site Analysis

Bradford sits along a strip of Northern England industrial cities. From Liverpool to Hull, Bradford sits in a important position within the success of these northern industrial cities during their history. Its topography, in a originally rural bowl with rivers and waterways culminating at its heart, has given the city many characteristics that define it today. With a rich history of wealth and industry, its current demise will be explored within the layers of this model.


This layer shows the interaction between different people of different cultural and ethnic backgrounds. There are certain “points of interest” which bring people together. Some points of interest such as economic and religious tend to polarise and bring together only a certain group of people, and this can lead to tension between the polarised areas, while others such as educational and cultural, try to bring people from different backgrounds together. It has been noted that population density varies from area to area, with a tendency for people from a certain ethnic background to cluster together in small, crowded areas. In these almost “ghetto” areas, very little mixture is present and many people can live a whole life without meeting and interacting with people from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds.

Built Environment

This layer demonstrates the natural divide made by the Beck within Bradford. The correlation between distinct areas within the city are directly related to our site. The division between cultural, educational, industrial, green space and water in the city are split by the original watercourse of the Beck. Since the Bradford beck has been rerouted, efforts have been made to echo its past and harmonise the different areas, this coincidentally pivots around our site, and has not worked effectively.  This must be addressed to ensure a holistic construct.

Pedestrian & Water Flow

The oppression of the river beck to a subterranean level as a result of pollution during the industrial revolution is a tragedy suffered by Bradford. The close proximity of the group site to the subterranean river provides a unique opportunity to link pedestrian flow with the subterranean flow of the river. It can be seen that to the south of the site there is a clear intersection between pedestrian and water flow.


The elevated topography of the site provides any occupant with a full view of the city skyline and of the different materials used throughout Bradford. This layer shows the full colour palette of the surrounding built environment and the bowl shape created to the east of the site. Key monuments such as the city hall and the dome of the Alhambra theatre have been  highlighted as views that can be utilised.

Lost & Hidden History

This 8 x 8 grid was first conceived as a part of the Alsop regeneration plan for Bradford. The grid separates each layer of the model defining which tourist activity parts of the model fall into.

This piece also gives a narrative of the site’s lost history; the Alexandria Hotel and a large lawn that was later converted to a theatre - “The Empire Music Theatre”. The successful Alhambra theatre caused audiences to decline. It then became the “New Empire Cinema” eventually closing due to fire. In 1972, Alexandria Hotel closed, after demolition in the 90’s it is now a car park – a sad existence for what was once a hot spot for public interaction.

The subterranean narrative continues with the current submergence of the Beck, many aspects of Bradford’s heritage have been forced underground and  forgotten. Judging from this history, what is apparent is that the site has experienced a strong history of media and entertainment.. For that reason, images of the history and narrative of the site represent the lost and hidden heritage of Bradford.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

M.Arch Dissertation Research [Landscape Urbanism]

I have been back in Nottingham Trent University for over a month now in year two Master of Architecture  and my research and areas of interest are starting to become even more eclectic than last year.

One of the recurring themes in recent architectural journals is preserving local identity whilst designing using global technologies and materials. Landscape urbanism is emerging as one the core theories being used to create city spaces using landscape as the primary consideration in planning rather than architecture. This theory is using ground as a central design tool to create fluid buildings that are easily adaptable and create timeless architecture.

Studio Mumbai have pioneered this landscape led design tool with the Tara House [2005] which is designed from its subterranean aquifer to create a dark excavated space with a mythical narrative. Above the ground the buildings are formed around an indigenous fauna courtyard respecting the local identity of KashidIndia.

I’m about to embark on a dissertation but have yet to formulate a distinct question but identity and landscape urbanism will be at the forefront of my research between now and February so keep checking the blog for my latest progress.