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Part 2 Project 2013
Marina Polykarpou
Karman Wan
Kingston University, UK
The post indsutrial structures and landscapes of the Derwent Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, are in a constant cycle of decay and repair. What is concerning in the history of a World Heritage Site is the sense of a tradition – the sense of cultural legacy handed from one generation to the next for safe-keeping. Very often this sense of safe-keeping is reduced to the physical preservation of old buildings. This restricted understanding of tradition leads to an ossification of sites of special interest, which are increasingly alienated from their cultural origins and, as a result, buildings become valued in exclusively formal terms and people become resistant to any change. The history of the Derwent Valley may be said has frozen too-but all the happenings at the valley, even the everyday, have left physical traces which can be discovered and represented.

Following a series of walks transecting these diverse territories, we set about recording this place, drawing the existing conditions and the boundaries of the World Heritage Site, the Buffer zone, a mill, a farm, and a quarry inorder to discover, understand and develop the tools, which assessed the value of ‘heritage’. These discoveries are an imaginative resource and helped understand the concealed potential of this place, where a landscape infrastucture evolved.

Currently as it stands the Derwent Valley’s sense of place is non-existant. Without intervention, it will increasingly become a dysfunctional commuter area. Through this we were to question UNESCO and ask whether it is a missed opportunity not to add to an already extensive history of the site. The project aims to rejuvenate a town of the Derwent Valley, by renovating an existing mill building and introducing a new combined heating and power station which will provide heat and electricity to the town. Acres of rapeseed fields dress the middle ground between the two buildings which will be used for people to enjoy visually and experientially as well as to provide fuel to the CHP station. This model could be explored as the potential for new initiatives and strategies to reactivate once thriving communities along the Derwent Valley.

Marina Polykarpou
Karman Wan


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