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Devil’s Hole Cheese Factory

Part 1 Project 2014
Kate Nicholson
University of Central Lancashire | UK
The Devil’s Hole Cheese Factory will reinvent the process of production as a theatrical performance, bringing industry back into the heart of the city centre of Preston. There is a growing disconnection between people and food. The age of industrialisation has pushed food production out of the city so that people no longer know where their food comes from or how it has been prepared.

The project began with a master planning exercise at the heart of the city. For the design of the model city I developed a manifesto outlining the key principles of urban planning and applied each of these points to the city of Preston. The proposal is a conceptualisation of the Georgian square which is inherently more functional, utilising local food production and promoting industry in the city centre. The proposed square is an apple orchard defined by a brick structure, drawing on the idea of the traditional English walled garden. The area is dedicated to the true meaning of the Guild as an association of merchants and craftsmen. The wall is made up of a series of brick planes. Over time more industries and crafts will be incorporated, gradually filling in the spaces in the wall until the orchard is a hive of activity with each craftsman feeding their products into the grand covered market to be sold. The orchard serves as a meeting place for the Guild. The materiality of the wall is red brick, the symbol of industrialisation.

Cheese making in Lancashire in the early 1900s was a big business, with monthly cheese fairs held in Preston under the covered market structure, though cheese making can be traced as far back as the 12th century when King John granted Preston a royal charter to host an annual cheese fair. The detailed study of the cheese making production process led me to analyse the factory aesthetic and how the factory as a building type has developed since 1769 when Richard Arkwright invented the water frame in Preston. This invention became the core of the prototype for the modern factory.

Kate Nicholson


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