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Copperopolis Industrial Park And Museum

Part 2 Project 2002
Tom Gibb
Edwina Kinsella
Cardiff University Cardiff UK
Sighting a museum within the scarred landscape of the Tawe Valley, Swansea, allowed a plethora of theories and organisational methodologies to develop. These concepts focus on giving the visitor a deeper understanding of the post-industrial landscape of heritage and decay. The organisation of new structures responds to footprints of previously demolished rolling mills and furnaces, creating a ‘museum on industrial landscape’.

The museum is entered at low level from the parkland through the former canteen building. From here the visitor advances a level, passing through walkways into the first of two exhibition halls. The atmosphere within these spaces is reticent of the engine houses that powered the industrial revolution where noise disseminates from engines and machinery.

Gantry structures and dynamic-walkways guide the visitors between pavilions holding more contemporary exhibits. Once these have been explored the museum programme allows the visitor to contemplate in the café while viewing monumental ruins of the copper industry in Swansea. This introspective space forms a turning point where the public circulation is referred back over the museum at high level.

The architectural qualities of the building are deeply routed in my interest with portable and kinetic technology. Jointing techniques can be adapted to enable movement that can, in turn, be linked to studies of industrial process. A need to carefully control the internal environment within the museum lead to the development of a kinetic skin strategy where individual panels arranged in layers could either slide or folded behind a unifying rain-screen cladding of woven copper mesh.

Tom Gibb
Edwina Kinsella


Tom’s design thesis is in the field of tectonic form. Understood as the art of construction the main aims of the studio are to explore and exploit the poetic potential of building as a primary goal in architectural design.

The focus of Tom’s thesis is ‘Kinetic Architecture’ in which he concentrates on the design of buildings and structures with moving parts. These dynamic elements – walls, floors, openings are designed and made to match the programmatic and climatic needs of the building and it’s users.

The projects are developed through ‘prototyping’ a range of physical models at various scales. A number of these are made full size in order to investigate materiality, texture, performance and process.

2002
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