PROJECT TITLE: Sheep, Industry and the City

LOCATION: 46 Darley Street, Bradford

FUNCTION: Art Gallery space and place for art production

STUDIO LEADERS: Adam Gray and Sally Stone

DESCRIPTION: In collaboration with Jamie Reed, my second term project of my first year MArch studying at Manchester School of Architecture looks into the reuse of an old architectural Ironmongers in Bradford’s ‘Top of Town’ district. The project follows the process of wool production, an industry that seemingly shaped much of Bradford’s history.

History of Bradford
Bradford was shaped and moulded by the events of the industrial revolution and the role the city played in making textiles. The area became a hot spot for producing textiles out of worsted, a finer type of wool taken from sheep, washed, combed, spun and woven to create different types of material. In many ways, Bradford is indebted to the sheep that provided the city with the materials in which it built an industry and economic viability. This connection between settlement and industry should be commonly referred to when talking about the textile boom. We looked at how sheep might inhabit the city today as a way of reclaiming their land. Placing the animals awkwardly between and behind different buildings to provide an almost dystopian Bradford. It marked the start of the project and the process of producing textiles in the city, this kick-started our interest in this process which

Splitting Stock
The next stage of our process involved splitting and assigning different uses and functions to the existing spaces in the building, alike the process of grading and sorting stock within wool production. We began by analysing each of the spaces and what they provided, much of the decision making was a result in seeing what the building wanted and understanding what space best suited the different functions needed in the art space. Aiding the decision making, the existing building audit helped ‘grade’ a number of the existing spaces; dark areas such as the basement level could be assigned to ancillary spaces and toilets, upper levels that gave more light were assigned gallery spaces to make use of the flood of light taller spaces the roof provided.

Refining space
Developing a 1:50 spatial model expresses this movement between spaces and gives a coherent understanding on how the spaces connect and weave together. As a spatial translation of the section it refines the details of inhabitation in the assignment of spaces in the building, capturing the nature of the act of demolition and creating a new circulation space as fulcrum which, directing people around and between the two separate sides of 46 Darley Street.

Light controlled gallery
The basement level contains much of the galleries ancillary spaces, providing areas for storage, maintenance and toilets. The decision to do so was largely driven by the lack of light at this submerged level. Additionally, we made use of such naturally dark spaces by providing a transient light controlled gallery space that is able to be used for exhibitions, performances and various other performative arts by providing an entirely controlled lighting gallery which sits beneath the external gallery space.

Ground Floor
Public entry into the building is accessed through a modest ‘shop front’ entrance. Moving= through this space, and into the central space, the dramatic fulcrum space is revealed to the visitor as views up between each floor is observed. The ground floor also makes use of the yard space and roof of the light controlled gallery by providing an external gallery used for different external mediums of producing art such as large scale sculpture and murals.

Café & Workspace
The first floor contains a mix of public and private activities, on the Darley street side is a retrofitted café space that makes use of the large façade opening on the Darley street elevation. The Piccadilly side is then turned into a new flexible artist workspace for art production as it makes use of the larger expanse of space. Each space is re-inhabited with new ornamental components added to make the space aesthetically and functionally refined.

Gallery & Library
Upper level gallery spaces provide a feeling of lightness produced by the new articulation of the roof structure. The building provides spaces of closeness such as the art and design library.

Third Floor
The third floor gallery space gives a visitor a full view of the repeated roof structure elements as it creates a form and gallery space that is flooded with light. It is the one part of the building in which the two sides are visually unobstructed in its entirety, thus ending the processional public route through the art gallery. Minimal furniture and wall hanging art keep the space clear and light but also multifunctional for different types of exhibition.