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Restore, Reuse and Regenerate: Up-Cycling and Architecture Conservation

Part 1 Project 2012
Larisa Cosmina Bulibasa
University of Westminster London UK
The long history of London has ensured a complex landscape consisting of a multiplicity of ideas and cultures. As a result, this layered city is brimming with sites of archaeological interests, one of which has been highlighted for restoration, reuse and regeneration in this design project. The group of buildings collectively referred to as the Truman Brewery is located along Brick Lane in East London, and more importantly, in the vicinity of the ancient City of London. In addition to its high archaeological potential, the area is also representative of the 17th to 19th century brick making industry that was prevalent in London, and hence the resulting brick architecture works.

This rich tradition is revealed and continued in the design proposal through the conservation process. By reconsidering the boundaries between private and public spaces and the excavation process, exhibition and education, the historically rich Vat House and an adjacent building function dually as exhibits and habitable spaces. The evoking of memories during the conservation process are contrasted and accentuated against the new architectural interventions. The peeling back of historical layers reveals the ‘hidden treasures’ of Brick Lane, articulates archaeological narratives, and more importantly allows the existing buildings to be appreciated, experienced differently, and appropriately reused. The architecture is also influenced by existing features on the site which are seen as markers for the new boundaries of the project. These are: an existing brick bridge, a triple volume brick wall and the Vat House, the last of which is the oldest building on the east side of Brick Lane.

By enhancing the apparent layered and multi-faceted qualities, the proposal puts a positive spin on the area and strengthens its spatial, historical and material experience. The design program addresses the differences in scale between large public spaces of a Bridge Gallery, an existing Archaeological Site and the intimate private spaces of a studio and workshop. These spaces are bridged by means of the building program and activities. Most of all, the design concept celebrates ideas of change. The building is continuously shifting and adapting to new conditions, and the potential for new spaces and use are integral to the architecture.

Larisa Cosmina Bulibasa


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