In this VDF school show, graduates from the University of Central Lancashire are sharing architecture projects that aim to reinvigorate the British seaside town of Blackpool and overhaul its tourism industry.
The concepts were created by students as part of their BSc Architecture degree and hope to create a more equitable relationship between visiting holidaymakers and the town's actual population, which has been largely underserved within the local infrastructure.
BSc Architecture, Grenfell-Baines Institute of Architecture, University of Central Lancashire
"Our Year 3 Blackpool Studio situates itself within the contested economic, social, cultural and environmental condition of the British seaside town. The module utilises an exploration of pleasure, poverty and production to critique the relationship between tourists and settled populations.
"In the first semester, we propose a Temple of Antitheses – a place of ceremony, sanctuary and memory that provides a respite and renewal from the extreme interiors of Blackpool's promenade. Second-semester students create their own souvenirs using either traditional or emerging digital craft techniques. They then design the building where this artefact is made and presented, as a socially and economically transformative act of empowerment within a marginalised community."
The Pink Temple by Jemma Baldwin
"The Pink Temple is a community space for respite and reflection located on the north shore of Blackpool. Unlike a traditional temple, the spaces provided within the complex are for multicultural worship and meditation. This makes room for gatherings and shared interactions as well as for individual reflection.
"I wanted to design a temple that has no links to a specific religion but instead fosters shared experiences that are inclusive of all religions, ethnicities, genders and sexual orientations – a space for everyone to inhabit. The project uses an assemblage of walkways, platforms and arches to create different modes of sensory engagement with the water. Touch, sound, sight, movement, taste and smell are integrated at a variety of scales."
Haweside Community Makerspace by Joe Wojewoda
"The existing souvenir landscape in Blackpool is oversaturated. Shelves of often imported novelties stretch miles along the promenade, advertised by bright, luminescent billboards. These novelties are both cheap and overpriced, pointless yet hilarious, but always ephemeral. Blackpool feels ephemeral – like a short high. Souvenirs seemingly exist only to amass capital, which becomes evident in their Made in Somewhere Else labels.
"This project provides the tourists and residents of Blackpool with a community workshop for Lino printing. Visitors are able to learn the process and produce personalised souvenirs based on their Blackpool experience. They can either keep the final result or donate it to an on-site gallery to support local artists."
Made in Blackpool by Megan Balshaw
"The brief for the Made in Blackpool project called for us to build upon our knowledge and understanding of Blackpool and develop a critical and creative analysis of the Blackpool territory.
"During the project, we considered Blackpool not only as a tourist destination but also as a place to live and create. By exploring Blackpool, we gained an understanding of the characteristics that constitute a place in order to create new architectural typologies of creativity and productivity."
Made in Blackpool by John McIlroy
"Blackpool's economy is over-reliant on mass-produced goods and cheap labour. This tourist economy has resulted in a spatial condition whereby Blackpool's "front of house" and its residential areas exist in stark contrast, with residents denied any involvement in the economic processes that dictate their lives to a large extent.
"Through a process of engagement and craftsmanship, this project creates a new souvenir economy and mode of cultural attraction. The building that plays host to this initiative must embody its ideals – those of autonomy, authenticity, solidarity and economic empowerment."
Ceramics Workshop by Amara Ugradar
"This project introduces a ceramic workshop into the heart of the existing Blackpool community and provides a space in which to educate people in the ceramics process.
"The design combines a glulam timber structure and cross-laminated timber panels with hand-made tiles and a glazed facade. The two volumes on the site create new street conditions that guide people from the local library and leisure centre to the adjacent Watson Road Park."
Lux Pavilion by Alice Bridges
"The purpose of this project is to create a place for the local community and tourists to participate in hand-making terrazzo lamps and objects as a new type of souvenir for Blackpool. The site will also provide a community hub for the general public with a community garden and Bocce ball courts.
"The project is an exercise in inserting architecture into a sensitive landscape, giving its inhabitants an intimate and sublime experience with the site. The name of the project originated from a territorial analysis exploration, and describes the building as the new light of the community."
Temple of Antitheses by Tariro Ushe
"Sacred spaces are meant not just for those practising specific religious worship but also for those who seek the spiritual power of healing and renewal. Nature should be a contributor in providing sacred and meditative spaces of wellness. That's why I decided to focus on the element that far outweighs Earth's landmass: water.
"Water is a powerful tool in providing wellness and renewal that has been deployed across different religions for centuries, including in Christian baptisms or when Hindus bathe in the river Ganges. Hence, I thought it was important to make water the main feature and spectacle for my design."
Temple of Antitheses by Lewis Rainford
"Moving away from an examination of Blackpool's extreme interiors to an examination of an extreme exterior, this project returns water to the former North Shore Boating Pool by introducing an opening into the existing sea wall on the site.
Cracked Perception by Michelle Jesse
"Cracked Perception is a reflection of Blackpool's economic status. Situated in Watson Road Park between Blackpool Pleasure Beach and the community of Hawside, the project seeks to reconnect the transient and settled communities of the town.
"The titular crack symbolises a breaking away from the established negative perceptions of Blackpool as a place of social deprivation in need of renewal and regeneration."
Made in Blackpool by Thomas Reed
"This project involved research into Blackpool's tourism and souvenir market and the built environments in which they are set. Through an empathic engagement with the craft of glassblowing, I have created a project that embeds this activity within the heart of a marginalised area of Blackpool.
"The project utilises a new landscape strategy and the design of the building to connect an adjacent park and street to existing community amenity spaces. This project repositions Blackpool not only as a place to visit but as a place of production and community."
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