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Teesside Engineering & Creative Hub

Part 2 Project 2010
Abbas Norozi
Northumbria University Newcastle upon Tyne UK
Teesside Engineering and Creative Hub

Teesside: The demise of an industrial heritage

The year 2010 witnessed the closure and mothballing of the Teesside steel works. For more than a century, this industrial heart of the sub-region harnessed the power and creativity of people of Redcar. Its demise signifies a turning point in people’s skills and their tacit knowledge. As this industry dies out, so does the technical heritage that was tightly embedded in people’s way of living.
This however is not a new event. In common with most major manufacturing areas in the country, the Teesside faced a massive restructuring of its industrial core from the late 1970s. By the mid-1990s, numbers employed in the sub-region had fallen to their lowest level with over 74,000 manufacturing jobs lost from its traditional industries of iron and steel, chemicals and mechanical engineering.

An urgent need

Teesside now has an urgent need for reskilling if it is to survive and emerge strong from the current recession.
Research indicates that experiences in early teens are a major determinant in their perceptions and aspirations for future careers of young people. 7-16 year olds have the least positive opinion of engineering.
EngineeringUK report that 49% of 7 – 11 year olds believe it would be ‘boring’ to be an engineer. Young people do not associate being an engineer with designing and creating; common practice in an Engineers’ profession.
The thesis proposes a new way of learning engineering, one which encourages collaborative work between artists, people working in creative sectors and engineers. It is a catalyst for economic recovery of the Tees Valley where young people’s talents are nurtured and creativity and innovation are part of the learning process.

The project aims to:

• Enhance science and engineering education and resources in the region
• Create a hub for local creative industries
• Facilitate cross-fertilization between arts and science, creative industries and engineering

Abbas Norozi

Abbas Norozi- A new creative engineering hub for Teesside.

The scheme as proposed is a creative engineering incubator for Teesside; it is conceived in response to the absolute need for a facility that addresses the decline of engineering in Teesside which has supported the local economy for over 150 years. With the mothballing of the Corus works there is a massive gap that needs to be filled. This facility is intended as a catalyst for economy recovery.

The site for the building is on the edge of the Coatham Marsh Nature Park. This area was once a thriving community; in recent years this community has failed as a result of the demise local industries.

Industrialist and politicians have recognised the importance of engineering in the area, and the need for a new impetus. Teesside has been recognised for its innovation in the creative arts in recent years, this facility is intended to be a satellite school of Teesside university. The incubator synthesises arts and engineering in a new type of work and research hub that provides different types of space for people to develop creative engineering prototypes. Spaces are available for individuals, small groups, seminars and conferences, as well as a multitude of workshops and studio spaces.

The building touches the world lightly brought to site as prefabricated parts, to enable ease of assembly and to reduce the impact the construction of the building has on this now-environmentally sensitive site

The thesis project is borne out of discourse in relation to critical regionalism. The language and scale of the scheme is designed to be familiar to the people who have lived and worked in the area. The language of the building recalls the former industries in Teesside; especially the steel works- it is a dynamic piece of architecture with moving components alter the building programme and form (see drawings).

Abbas is also interested in notions of the sublime as characterised by the work of Turner et al. He recognises that architecture exists in a temporal environment that is constantly changing; as demonstrated by his powerful graphical communication.


Mr Paul Jones
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