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Stonemasonry School, Sheffield

Part 1 Project 1999
Ana Maria Goilav
Dominic Hayes
University of Sheffield Sheffield UK
Set deep in the rugged landscape of the Rivelin Valley, on the border of the City of Sheffield, (steeped in industrial legend) and the Peak National Park, (fabled for its beauty), Rivelin Glen Quarry nestles hidden from view as a hive of activity. The scenes evoke images of bygone times, when the craftsman was a truly celebrated and respected icon of the engineering and construction fields.

Neville Slack has acted as guardian of the quarry for over four decades, as his profession, his hobby and even his home. His status as a Master Mason gives only the first hint of his passion for the craft.

As the stone reserves reach exhaustion and Neville’s working years draw to a close, his love of his work has given him aspirations to transform his properties into a teaching centre, to pass on his knowledge and protect the future of the mason’s legacy.

For me the project represented the opportunity to convey the life long passion of my client for his craft, in a design, which reflected all the qualities he himself treasured. In this, I strove to reflect and embrace the spirit of the Stone Mason, the history and the genre, along with the qualities of the material and the dramatic physical presence afforded to it by mans attempts to extract it from nature’s grasp.

Ana Maria Goilav
Dominic Hayes

This project stands out from the accomplished body of work that formed Dominic's degree portfolio. It demonstrates a maturity and confidence in his work, which avoids the use retoric and fashionable forms which, as tutor, I felt was entirely appropriate to the given brief.

Dominic pursued his inquiries into the two principle stimuli, the dramatic quarry and Neville Slack, the master mason, with a passion. He spent hours, late into the night with Neville refining the design and lifting Neville's sights, from a programme restrained by pragmatism, to a celebation of his art through architecture.

Dominic's design was developed thoughout with the use of a three dimensional CAD model, covering the whole quarry as context. The 'walk throughs'he presents reveal a robust and workmanlike series of structures, skillfully knitted into the landscape and linked with the retained buildings of quality. Through the structural innovation, transparency and layering of materials apparent in the resultant architecture, Dominic reflects the aspirations of the stonemason to create wonder from Neville's earthy profession

This was an exceptional acheivement for a four week project.

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