STAITHS UNIT — PRIVATE COMMISSION
Design & Fabrication, Blackened Steel. Gateshead, 2015.
Harking back to a bygone age of industrial might, the Dunston Staiths now doze in the Tyne like a fragile skeleton, reminiscing over times of coal and steam. Although now antiquated and obsolete, the graceful, sweeping curve of these regimented timber stakes brings true grounding to an area in the midst of rapid regeneration.
Opened in 1893 the Staiths operated for over 85 years and aided the momentum of the industrial revolution.
For generations coal was drawn along railway lines perched atop of these wooden structures. An unrelenting supply of the black mineral pumped along metal arteries, from the coalfields of North Durham to the Keels of the Tyne, before heading on to fuel a hungry empire.
Drawing inspiration from such monumental structures, a visual language is developed which is exclusively appropriate for this corner of the world.
Deconstructing the form creates a working module consisting of two distinct elements - the rail lines and the timber trusses. Through reinterpretation of this module an identity begins to evolve.
Refining the module, a rich, graphical language is created, a Staiths Identity. Modulation and repetition references the original structures.
The Staiths is an ageing form in constant flux. Exposed and battered it unashamedly bear the scars of time. The Staiths Identity must embrace the damage and decay that has created such character. The final act is one of destruction, cutting away modules to reference the fires which have ravaged this icon.
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