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The Institute of Meat: The Chester Guild of Tanners and Butchers

Part 2 Project 2011
Andrew Hassell
Birmingham City University | UK
Today, the British public are losing touch with traditional craft methods, consuming products without realising the processes involved. These once handed down processes are becoming lost as our nation becomes more globalized. Our once industrial / market towns and cities are becoming retail and service sector zones.

The Institute of Meat aims to reintroduce these understated crafts and skills into the city centre by placing them within the retail high street. This is realised through the reintroduction of traditional guilds. The Guilds aim to educate the local community, showing how important these crafts are. Here craft and the quality of hand made products are celebrated.

The unique Chester Row typology was analysed in relation to its function, form and aesthetics, context within the city and historical layering. The Row typology, with its typical aesthetics of the black and white revival style, was then explored, re-interpreted, revived. This analysis led to the revealing of certain historic layers, mapping the evolution of the City. This historical context and lost urban grains, dating back to Roman Britton, informed the design process.

The manufacturing processes are experienced throughout the building, from stripping the skin away from the animal, preparing the meat to be eaten, tanning the hides and carefully working the leather. This experience is interwoven through a variety of accommodation including an abattoir, tannery, butchers, restaurant and leather boutique, creating a rich juxtaposition between the fineness of the hand made and the roughness of the industrial. This complex accommodation is centred round the main Guildhall, where the appreciation and celebration of such crafts are focussed.

Andrew Hassell


Mr Kevin W Singh
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