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Dover

Part 1 Project 2001
John Cain
University of Cambridge Cambridge UK
The project forms part of a studio masterplan exploring possible future development and expansion of the town and port of Dover. The dislocation and disparity in scale between the operations of the port and the life of the town, has left the town all but isolated from the maritime heritage that defines its identity. Our brief was to explore how future development might re-evaluate the relationship between the urbanity of the town and the infrastructure and operations of the port.

The project attempts to redefine the swathes of undifferentiated dockside territory of Dover's marina area - identifying the region as a possible point of re-engagement between port and town.

A new marina landscape, modelled around a diverted River Dour, reconfigures the existing blankness as a vibrant waterside district - suggesting a scale and density of occupation that refers to the urbanity of the town within the realms of the harbour. On a central site within this landscape, Union Quay Venue and Conference Centre attempts to mediate between the transient world of seafront hotels and conferences and the more situated needs of the town - a performance space on the interstice of town and harbour.

John Cain


The unit worked over the year in Dover, Kent, with the landscapes associated with defence and transport infrastructure. We were attempting to identify a vocabulary between ‘bigness’ and an urbane architecture never recovered in the town since the economic and war damage wrought over the last century.

The student forged a confident balance between the buoyancy of large-scale interventions – often explored through unconventional media such as linocutting – and the experiential scale of a building proposition.

His skill over the year lay in doggedly pursuing connections between mundane information, uncovered by research and the summarisation of these fragments into something that could operate on an urban level with a richer order than that usually encountered in the English seaside town.

2001
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