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The Rotherhithe Cooperative Press

Part 2 Project 2021
Rebecca Gardner
University of Westminster | UK
Newspapers are dying and with them an integral part of London’s civic life and our tacit skillset is at risk of extinction. The Rotherhithe Cooperative Press reinvents newspaper production, shunning mass media in favour of community-driven print. Through reviving the abandoned Rotherhithe Tunnel Rotunda and exploiting the diurnal cycle of printing, the project acts as a production framework and distribution network for marginalised media outlets.

The scheme re-imagines Daniel Libeskind’s machines; appropriating the notion that architecture, like print media, can be read to reveal the activities within. The Printing Machine acts as the scheme’s mechanical hub, rising and falling with the Thames, revealing snippets of production through its façade of glazed recycled-paper cladding and glass shingles.

The Writing Machine explores the tension between the individual journalist and the publicity of print media. The writer’s hall is excavated like a dry-dock, ensuring a solitude which is enhanced by suspended paper cocoons that puncture the new public square above.

The Reading Machine reinvents Ramelli’s sixteenth-century Reading Wheel, creating a series of reinforced paper reading pods that radiate around a centralised archive. This archive sits delicately within the historic Rotunda, re-engaging the public with both print-media and the industrial heritage of the river.

Rebecca Gardner

Tutor(s)
Anthony Boulanger
Callum Perry
Stuart Piercy
2021
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