From St. Paul’s Cathedral to Buckingham Palace, the Isle of Portland has produced the greyish-white stone for many of UK’s most notable buildings. Quarrying once formed the islands economy and cultural life, but is today an almost depleted industry employing just a handful of workers. Portland, like many other post-industrial landscapes in the UK, has suffered from a loss of demand for local production, and its quarries are but white hollow scars on the islands landscape.
Suffering from of a loss of income and identity, this project asks how Portland may re-invent itself and contribute to the UK’s current economy, whilst holding onto its heritage. Against the backdrop of acute sustainability challenges within contemporary UK construction, the Centre for Sustainable Re-use (CSR) advocates a project that challenges the construction industry's use and re-use of materials, offering a regional centre for storing, processing and testing used construction materials. At the same time it offers Portland an opportunity to lead an emerging re-use culture and economy. It's site is suited to a swathe of unused brownfield quarries and a its proposition appropriate for a demographic with knowledge of large-scale material processing and distribution.
The CSR is sited in the former Albion Quarry, and is constructed as a steel framed-grid infrastructure that uses the quarry-face as its outer walls and supports storage and research of used construction materials. The flexible lightweight infrastructure is offset by defined, solid spaces that anchor interiors for research, administration, and pedagogical functions, responding to a contemporary imperative to combine production economies with knowledge ones as a direct response to the dependency and subsequent depletion of post-industrial economies.
The project envisions an architecture that supports a cyclical and temporal program of material storage and testing, informed by changing trends in demolition and development within the region, but also a more stable and permanent program of knowledge creation. Qualities of temporality, permanence, light and mass, are reflected in the lightweight steel frame and rammed earth walls and quarry edge, as well as in the drawing of speculative re-use testing, shown in the drawings in two time-frames in red and orange.