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Dalston Dining Room

Part 2 Project 2002
Mike Hood
Paul Rawson
University of Sheffield UK
The project is concerned with tracking development trends in marginal social areas and examining the forces that drive such development. Working on developers terms, it proposes a method for increasing land value using architectural intervention.

Present development techniques are very limited applying the same linear models to each project regardless of its situation/location. Developers require new techniques for engaging with the complex and un-predicable nature of postmodern London. They must seek to exploit the ‘sense of place’ bedding development into the local community and weaving layers into the existing fabric so that it may be preserved and exploited for its rich qualities.

The project is a mechanism for enhancing the value of a site prior to permanent development by making temporary interventions - ‘cultural conditioners’ that stimulate and then displaying the pre-existing local cultural qualities, acting as a neon sign would - applying a thin electric blue vanish to an object, not changing the object but instantly making it more attractive by highlighting the intricate detail.

The strategy is tested through a proposal for the ‘Dalston Dining Room’, a conditioner applied to the existing semi-derelict Stamford Works building before it is demolished. The proposal is simply a marketing strategy that is manifested as built form, exploiting ethnic food as one cultural phenomena specific to Dalston. The scheme is not intended to be highly profitable, the profit gained will be through the effect that the spectacle has on the value of any future development on the site.

Mike Hood
Paul Rawson

Mike decided to explore the process of development, trying to understand how sites and properties go through economic cycles which change their value. Using as a ‘control’ a current development proposal for Gillette Square, off Kingsland High Street, Mike considered how existing regulatory systems define the form of buildings. He carried out a number of cost/yield analyses to determine how the forces of control and capital are interrelated. His critique of current development practices focused on the standardization of solutions applied to sites without respect for local conditions. Mike’s final project proposed a mechanism for enhancing the value of a site prior to permanent development, tapping into existing local conditions as a way of bedding the development into the community. This move also permitted lower profit margins and therefore greater flexibility in design. His range of temporary restaurants drew on the important culinary culture which exists in the Dalston area.

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