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The Carbon Mile

Part 1 Project 2014
Deyan Saev
Cardiff University, UK
The Carbon Mile is a proposal for a large scale, mixed use, redevelopment of Cardiff’s industrial area, the starting force of which would be provided by the city’s new signature commerce - carbon fibre.

At the end of the 19th, beginning of the 20th century, Cardiff was one of the world’s top exporters of coal. The city’s rapid growth, diverse population and truly cosmopolitan character were all a result of the life sustaining coal trade. For years Tiger Bay’s industrial community acted as the connective tissue between the two ends of Cardiff. However, with the world’s decreasing need of the inefficient fossil fuel also came the city’s deterioration. The result – the capital’s loss of character, slow post war regeneration and desperate shift of focus to the service sector.

Reconnecting the different parts of the city, and creating local anchors of activity is what the master plan would do. It distinctive feature is the diagonal road which breaks the old, badly connected and unevolved square grid of the area. The road network and zoning is designed with surrounding areas in mind and potential future expansions of the science park and campus. Bringing back manufacturing to the city would provide the area with a large number of work opportunities of all levels. Additionally, by collaborating with the city’s established universities in research and prototyping the carbon fibre manufacturing can help retain the capital’s highly skilled and educated workers. This would allow the city to aim for developing knowledge, rather than services based industry.

The design of the factory building takes a look at the potential use of carbon fibre in architecture and the different structural and formal possibilities it could bring to construction. By making use of the materials unmatched tensile strength, large span designs can be explored in a new way – with the skin of the building being both structural and the weather barrier. With tensegrity as a main principle behind the parametric studies the project looks at curved surfaces and shell construction, examining lightweight tectonics.

Deyan Saev


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