Breathing Life into Albert Edward Dock

Industrialisation and the invention of combustion engines have greatly contributed to the shape of our cities today. During the decline of industrialisation and the understanding the issues surrounding this technology we are faced with the questions of how we can redefine our cities of the future. The Albert Edward Dock, located in Preston, holds historical significance as a former industrial site that played a vital role in the city's development during the industrial revolution. The docklands have a rich history which can be identified through artefacts and remnants of the past which are fragmented throughout the 50 hectare site. This thesis investigates how we can sustainably ‘breath life’ back into Albert Edward Dock through the continuity of architecture and urban design, bridging the gap between the past present and future. The study is set into three phases of development: Intervening, redefining and reimagining.

The project begins by addressing the challenges associated with the underutilization of this historic maritime infrastructure. Intervening in the landscape serves as a catalyst for the dockland's redevelopment, reintroducing the use of the water and reconnecting the people of Preston with this forgotten piece of infrastructure. Subsequently, the urban life surrounding the docklands is redefined through strategic master planning principles, inspired by the philosophies of Danish urban designer Jan Gehl, whilst aligning with the city council's "Vision for Preston." The third and final chapter explores how these new neighbourhoods can harmoniously blend with a contemporary Preston, emphasizing distinctive architecture that instils a sense of intrinsic value in the city's people.

Sustainability is a contentious topic within the discourse of today. Environmental sustainability should be paramount, however both social and economic sustainability should be perused mutually. At the core, this project believes in human-centric design and advocates for the creation of sustainable, healthy, and inclusive environments that will benefit future cities. The vision presented is an embodiment of Preston's identity, showcasing how cities can be designed today while staying deeply rooted in their context, achieving a sense of continuity across the past, present, and future.