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Surf Technology and Marine Research Centre, Newquay

Part 1 Project 2003
Lucy Cartlidge
Rebecca Gregory
University of Plymouth, UK
A project that started with a holiday to Newquay, surf capital of Europe, sounded quite appealing...
The brief, formulated in response to situations in Newquay, focusses on reconnection with the sea and creating year-long employment, which led to the proposal for a Research and Technology Centre.
The varied usage of the place suggested floating pods shaped for different activities that could be tugged along the coast as visiting rooms and laboratories. Sometimes floating, sometimes resting on sand, access and experience differs with the tide.
Respecting its home in the harbour the scheme regenerates and revives an area once bustling with commerce and technology. This inspired an emphasis on research into marine technology and the design of a carbon fibre structure on an intelligent hypalon base with ETFE and ceramic tile skin.
The crux of the project was discovering how to make a building wear and weather that would not tear and die, and many, many conversations!

Lucy Cartlidge
Rebecca Gregory

Look past the imagery…while the suggestion of pebble-like volumes, burnished by water and sun and set against a listed stone pier is evocative, this work is grounded in more than perceptual concerns.

The choice to work with the listed pier is ambitious yet considered; equally, the work dares to innovate yet does not succumb to the superficial. These intentions are supported by an exhaustive exploration of the tectonic and thoughtful engagement with context, and reflected in a sensitive yet optimistic response to social and environmental concerns.

The project was set in relation to a now completed proposition for an international surf center in Newquay, and was intended to prompt students to consider questions about siting and the very nature of the proposition itself. Lucy’s project provides a robust challenge to forces of commodification that threaten the built landscape, and her work hints at what can be achieved with an architecture that aspires to be responsive to site, tectonics and people.

Richard Difford
Prof Murray Fraser
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