This project brings together a series of diverse clients: Assembly (a co-working facility provider), FUSE Art Space (an art and performance exhibitor), and the Bradford Civic Society (an organisation that celebrates the city’s heritage and built environment). This intervention embraces the rich history of Bradford, whilst championing the current community and promoting alternative practices of work with an eye to a more inclusive and sustainable future.
A holistic approach has been taken, considering the curation of surrounding spaces. The vernacular has been respected, through culturally conscious design – adhering to a local and sympathetic material palette. The void is integral to the building's expression. Externally this provides rhythm. Internally, it manifests itself in a collection of playful, open, light and flexible spaces. The former Fountain Hall was a place to meet, engage and converse with others. I have drawn on from this notion, to create a range of spaces routed in the opportunities for interaction – an abstract dialogue between people and place.
Upon initial visit to the site, I experienced an absence of presence – it was neither here nor there. Fountain Street appeared to be lost within what currently seems to be perceived as a redundant part of the ‘Top of Town’. Whilst the main programme of the proposed intervention is embedded within the footprint of the former structure, the Tower serves as a key visual marker – it draws in the views from the margins, and with that come the people.
Buildings outlast us; therefore, we must prepare them for use beyond our time. One should anticipate a future use by designing flexible spaces, which can be adapted to meet evolving demands. Designing with longevity as a driving parameter ensures that the intervention develops a “multi-layered complexity,” which would otherwise be lost with each new building put in its place.