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The Silt City

Part 2 Project 2014
Joseph Charman
Newcastle University | UK
Many towns have been formed on the foundation of industry, and there is a strong symbiotic relationship between the development of a town and the evolution of industry, Grimsby Town and its adjoining dock is an exemplar case of this relationship.

A microcosm of change, the decline of its industry and dockland processes has had a correlating effect on the town, not just economically but also on its built fabric and cultural identity.

The thesis line of this enquiry examines the opportunity of establishing new industrial processes within the heart of Grimsby Docks that breaks the perpetual cycle of siltation and dredging that takes place within the Humber Estuary and uses the local resource of silt to construct the local built environment.

The enquiry led into an exploration of the material properties of silt, and in the similar way in which Aberdeen established its built environment, economy and character through its use of granite, the scheme seeks to make use of the unique properties of silt to ossify the local urban fabric of the town, and to reinforce the cultural identity of place, establishing Grimsby as The Silt City.

Whilst the proposal introduces an industrial framework that can, over time, adapt in response to changing industrial needs, the silt materials and components produced by the facility, envelop parts of this framework to create polyvalent civic spaces and by re-establishing public infrastructure between town and dock, these preliminary civic spaces act as anchors along the silt roads of regeneration.

Whilst the silt components protect and solidify the industrial framework, by placing and intertwining public space and infrastructure within the heart of The Silt Factory, the civic amenities are simultaneously enveloped by the spectacle of mechanised processes, with the intention to physically re-establish cultural ties between a town and its industrial practices.

A brief developed that blended the functional with the humanistic, extracting joy from the utilitarian whilst considering honesty through materiality. Exploring themes such as the spectacle, the post-industrial and time, the project combines infrastructure with urban renewal and the establishment of civic space with mechanised processes.

Joseph Charman

Matthew Margetts
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