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Derwent Valley and Derby City Centre


Derby Silk Mill 2050: Floating Factory

Chunyang Shi

The River Derwent is a flood-prone district. The project was stretched through an extreme flooding scenario: a flooding disaster that will damage River Derwent region. Meanwhile, as river level rises, hard engineering defences are no longer sustainable or affordable. Moving the line of defence inland, allowing flooding water to occupy previously protected Derby is the only option. The body mass is raised up, exploiting an inhabitable site for public use. As river level rises in the future decades, the building will become floating and flexible to the conditions. Also, water dyke and urban swales would be used as soft structures of flood prevention surrounding the old building and the new one. The Floating Factory itself is also a reflection of the damaged part of old Silk Mill, located in the original area. The aim is to reveal the memories of the rich heritage, and also to forecast the high technology trend. The theme of the new building, 'Remaking factory' would be an extension of the 'Remaking Museum' concept, which is the theme of present Silk Mill. 3D printers and manufacturing would be used together to realise a future dream: what if the factory could make itself? The production would be used as fabrics of the factory or used collaborating, delivering by containers along River Derwent or to the mainland.

Cromford Brewery

Olivia Smith

I want to take Arkwright's first mill at Cromford back to its roots in manufacture, in a way that can utilise the rich opportunities that exist on this site. My scenario builds on the growing ethical reaction against global brands, in favour of distinctive local craft, and I'm suggesting that with this will come a culture of creative thrift. Alongside a brewery, my scheme incorporates a social hub and flexible working spaces for a future of increasingly freelance and remote industry. My proposal fills up the existing volume of one fire damaged block, and supports the collapsing structure in its current state.

Agr-intel at Cromford

Kuan-Yu Chen

The word agrintel originally refers to 'agriculture' and 'intelligence', which means that the food production should be managed by intelligence. My scenario for 2050, focuses on two aspects, one is the climate change, which is the main purpose of our studio, and the other is the food crisis. Using the scenario as my starting point, I did some research and case studies on current food production, renewable energy and the theory of circular production. These concepts will help me to build a sustainable living environment for Cromford in the future.

Weaving the Past and Future Manu-Factory

Alexandra Mills

'Weaving the Past and Future Manu-factory' is interested in re-instating innovative textile manufacturing at the historic Cromford Mills site. The Future Factory of Weaving will be part of the master plan for the 18th Century cotton-spinning mill, leading the research and development of 3D weaving. The factory is informed by the principles of weaving; the Glulam structure is the loom frame, the tension wires reflect the warp threads and the weft threads are represented by the moving of people, machinery and research within the factory.

An ethnobotanical landscape: repurposing disused man-made environments

Samuel Atkinson

An ethnobotanical research centre will act to crystallise and develop traditional knowledge in the field of medicinal and experimental use of plants. The centre will focus on collecting, cataloguing and exploring historic, cultural and social use of the biospheres natural resources and investigate naturally occurring chemical compounds and their uses both medicinally and bio-technologically.

It offers a last frontier of preservation and discovery in the face of runaway climatic change and its profound effects on our world, collecting genetic information and extracting chemical compounds from the taxonomic groups of protozoa, algae, plants, slime moulds and fungi.

John Smedley 2050

Harrison Symonds

The garments manufactured by John Smedley at Lea Mills are made using a process refined over 200 years, crossed with cutting edge 21st century technology. It's Smedley's heritage, experience and innovative nature that has allowed the factory to endure, giving it the name of the oldest running textile mill in the world. It's location is firmly rooted in the Derwent valley, both as a symbolic connection to where the operation started but also as an attachment to the skilled and loyal workforce of the area.

Today, the complex consists of a series of additions. The original, 1784 mill, lies at the centre, from here the complex canyons out, spreading over 4 floors and extending over the road. Each addition responds to 'existing' arrangements, and so the complex is constantly evolving to suit the requirements of manufacturing. As a result, the trajectory of the garment as it is passed through each process is convoluted and confusing. Each department and process is compartmentalised, resulting in a detachment between the workers and the product.

The proposals consider the next 35 years of the mill's evolution; primarily resulting in a diversification of the existing program. This includes establishing a workers community and further employment opportunities, a new John Smedley factory, a textile education/research facility, and a museum telling the story of Lea Mills. These proposals would ensure continuous and efficient production of the garments, preserve and display the heritage and maintain the connection to the workers and locality.


Armand Agraviador and Alexander Schofield
How could a decentralised energy supply model be architecturally expressed to provide a viable alternative to polarised nationalisation and privatisation paradigms?

In order to explore this potential, the project works in parallel with a real-world community-initiated hydropower scheme, run by bencom IPS ADVyCE in Ambergate, Derbyshire; and a future technologies research body, the AMRC, based outside Sheffield.

The project identifies a hypothetical consortium between the two as client, funder and benefactor for the project. The proposed scheme seeks to expand the scope of the real-world hydropower initiative at Ambergate to benefit the community as well as act as a precedent and educational tool to encourage further schemes.

The primary manifestation of this is a hydrogen production plant and distribution centre that utilises emerging technologies of sustainable energy storage. In celebration of future technology and the hypothetical affiliation with the AMRC, the project will take an expressive approach to the housing of the operations. The experience of various users and visitors is a significant consideration when benchmarking a new paradigm and so the scheme will feature democratised, intellectually accessible architecture that complements local historical character and fosters ecological prosperity.

Reclaiming the Workhouse

Lucy Tew
Reclaiming the Workhouse

My project proposes a new alternative to the current benefits led system for dealing with unemployment in the UK. In the late 19th century our government believed the solution to dealing with the unemployed or those incapacitated and incapable of working was to induct them into workhouses. You would be separated from your family and children and put to work on 'unskilled' tasks in reward for shelter and just enough food to keep you alive. This system was designed specifically to ensure that noone aspired to enter a workhouse and would only do so as a very last resort. Today, in 2015 we have moved from a workhouse system to a welfare system, which is much more humane but still receives a lot of criticism as some people are viewed as living an easy/carefree existence at the taxpayers expense. In the wake of much criticism our coalition government has imposed a workfare system, which equates to people working in jobs for less than 2 pounds an hour or their benefits will be removed essentially sending them into poverty. I intend to reclaim the word and territory of the workhouse by proposing a modern day version, which will provide work within a textile factory system, and housing, but of an alternative business structure where each member will hold shares in the company.

Darley Abbey Island 2050

Luming Zhang

The project imagines an alternative future for the city of Derby in 2050 and is inspired by Alice in Wonderland where all kinds of real and imaginary creatures mingle. With the increase in floodwaters in 2050 the World Heritage site of Darley Abbey, a former mill, becomes an archipelago of islands co-inhabited by ecologically minded humans and other species.  Why do fish need ladders? The fish are helped in their migratory journeys upstream and downstream by this architecture of the Derwent River.

Strutt's Mill 2050

Wenjie Zhong

Residents in Belper have a passion for community life. They cherish the industrial heritage in Belper and create walking routes along the pathways to enjoy the different historical buildings along the route. There is only one Grade 1 listed building in Belper which is Strutt's North Mill, which is operated as a museum. There is a Riverside Garden beside North Mill. The design consists of two parts: The building part and the outdoor entertainment facility part. In order to repurpose the existing building I have demolished some parts of the existing factory and re-invented functional spaces in the remaining parts. The challenge is to make the appropriate demolition while getting the biggest benefit for obtaining outdoor spaces and providing enough spaces for internal functions. The outdoor entertainment facility part is an outdoor playing area, which consists of a terrace with a pavilion and entertainment facilities. The pavilion is a response to the garden along the River Derwent. The entertainment area aims to create a peaceful space for family, so the terrace encloses it.

Hydrological Innovation Centre

Alexander Dewick

With a specific focus on waterpower, my thesis aims to engender the creation of localised common energy controlled by local people, as opposed to private energy controlled by huge corporations interested primarily in profit. Therefore this thesis project aims to explore the potential of diversifying the UK energy sector with water power, reducing the UK's dependence on imported fossil fuels and in turn reducing our net greenhouse gas emissions. The founding principles of this thesis are threefold; to engender the creation of localised common energy controlled by local people as opposed to private energy, to reinvigorate the manufacturing heritage of the Derwent Valley providing training and jobs to the area, and to offer a fairer more equal ownership model where benefits are distributed equally and not just to those at the top thus offering a counterpoint to traditional capitalist development where the few benefit from the labour of the many.