Cardiff University, FIfth Year, 2017
Thesis: Exploring the use of contemporary fabrication techniques in transforming the socially associated motifs of historic Leominster
To many, medieval market towns in the UK conjure images of narrow alleys, small street markets, local pubs, parish churches and more. These places make up the social environments in many of these towns and associate with the familiar motifs found in the historic fabric that have occupied these towns for centuries. Perhaps, no motif encompasses many medieval towns more-so than the visually dominant exposed timber framed buildings. This is certainly true for the small rural town of Leominster.
Pen sketches | The Current Leominster Vernacular
Despite Leominster’s timber frame backdrop, the town is now in the unique positon of having the greatest density of steel fabricators in the country. However, this industry has lacked influence or impact within the town’s social centre.
Experimental Models | The Traditional Timber Frame in Steel
My thesis explored the translation of the timber framed vernacular through the technological capabilities of the local steel fabrication industry. In Leominster, the world of traditional fabrication in the local vernacular has been substituted for the globalized world of computerized, mass produced and standardized components and this has consequently resulted in vastly contrasting urban landscapes. It has been debated that it is within this process of making that the qualities of intricacy and the translation of beauty have disappeared from design. The thesis ultimately looks to achieve a continuity between the two worlds in the context of Leominster’s central social environment.
Constructed Fragment | 1:1 Steel Model
An explorative 1:1 sheet steel system, derived from the timber frame, harnesses the experiential qualities of the town’s High Street and has informed my projects programmatic decisions. The thesis proposal, a new town hall/ steel fabricators guild, exploits the abilities of the new system which showcases the interactive philosophies of shop front transparency, office privacy and light capture, street movement, and engagement of which all relates to the existing social environment in the town.
Topographical Model of Leominster in Mild Steel
The above model is a topographical model of Leominster which explores the fabrication process available in the town. The model measures around 2 by 2 meters and is comprised of 34 individual pieces. Each front-facing polygon has 4 tabs which are bent back using a press bend and these sit off a surface to provide the topographical variation. Each polygon also has a subtle center fold which provides different lighting qualities. All the perforations have been done by plasma cutting technology.