• THE JEWEL OF THE THAMES

    Location: London, UK

    Time: 2017.

    Category: MA School Work

     

     

    In the 18th century ‘mudlarking’ provided London’s poor with an opportunity to make a living by scouring the river banks to find treasures that could be sold for profit. Today’s ‘mudlarkers’ are amateur urban archeologists who delight in finding precious pieces of human history amongst the debris littering the muddy shores of the river. Old coins, clay pipes, ceramic bottle tops, pieces of Roman pottery and ancient rusty nails are common finds. The project imagines a building that will provide a ‘mudlarking’ jewellery designer and maker with the facilities they would need to gather raw materials from the river bank and transform them into sophisticated jewellery items that can designed, crafted, exhibited and sold on site.

     

    Located in Greenwich, where the riverbank provides an uncommon moment of calm in the busy metropolis, The scheme utilises a redundant coaling pier that used to serve the adjacent Greenwich power station. The skeletal structure was originally designed to work in harmony with the ever changing levels of the tidal river and the proposal weaves a new building into the existing metal framework. The new structure is suspended from the old and ‘floats’ above the river. Whilst there is a strong relationship between the dimensions of the existing structure and the new insertion there is a clear distinction between old and new in terms of form, materials and finish. The approach to the project draws strong parallels between the work of the jewellery designer and the creation of the new interior. In both cases redundant ‘found’ objects are re-used and given a new lease of life.