The Digital Heritage Studio is newly established this academic year and addresses the challenges of designing in a heritage-related context. The studio ethos encourages creativity and innovation with a particular aim of respecting and adding value to these existing buildings. Exploitation of digital tools have enhanced the studio design process, such as immersive virtual reality, laser scan surveys and online dissemination of 3D digital models via Sketchfab.
In semester one we worked alongside the current architect of Liverpool Anglican Cathedral, Mike Darwell. Here we created strategies considering the constraints and opportunities of designing within the cathedral vicinity and identified possible sites and functions for new architectural interventions. The visitor experience was central to our design responses, and outcomes were required to respect the cathedral’s main function as a place of worship and its significance as a heritage asset. Ideas ranged from refectories, market stalls, museum spaces and new entrances.
In semester two, designs for a new hostel building were investigated amongst Anglesey Barracks: former slate worker’s cottages on the site of Electric Mountain in Llanberis, North Wales. The picturesque slate ruins overlook Llyn Peris and Snowdon, forming a dramatic backdrop for a final BA design studio project. Investigations began by designing a single hostel room within one of the existing barrack blocks, as a microcosm of the larger project. Marriage between old and new required particular attention to avoid devaluing the existing heritage assets. These were explored across several scales including the new building’s location and mass, placing of entrances, space planning and elevational arrangements in relation to the existing buildings, material choices, and detailing.
This year we have designed in challenging contexts, yet students have risen to this challenge, and the work you see here demonstrates the dedication and hard work that make the studio what it is.
Taima Al Bahri
Dr Ataa Alsalloum
Dr Nick Webb
Dr Christina Malathouni