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Open Lab

Part 1 Project 2013
Sofia Andrews
University of Brighton, UK
Open Lab aims to reimagine the dormant factory town of East Tilbury into a vibrant testing ground for new materials and technologies. By reopening the sand and gravel quarry on site, scientists, architects, and artists will begin to test different composites and treatments, creating a multidisciplinary cycle of material use and information, encouraging cross collaboration. In the spirit of Tomas Bata, it will begin as a small seed planted between the two main abandoned factory building and slowly grow into them as interest in the project develops, while testing facilities also begin to pop up amongst the rest of the factories. It will feed back into the community with workshops, exhibitions, lectures, and installations around the town, and breathe new life into East Tilbury, turning it back into a destination. The project respects the town’s rich history and the beauty in the factories’ ruins thus negotiates with them spatially; at times making simple, unobtrusive interventions, and at times making bold cuts in floor plates and facades.
Sofia Andrews


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