I recently posted a very long set of images which formed the basis for a research & contextual study I have produced for the Bus Station Project. I have now managed to sort out how to post a link here to the actual pdf document, which you can now view with much more clarity.
This pdf is only a part of the contextual research which has been done – but forms a good basis on which to reflect upon the influences and threads of research which have caught my attention. Much more work has been done since this was completed and I hope to post more images of draft and concept drawings and sketches very soon.
The first page of the pdf looks like this image below – so you will know you are on the right tracks! Click here:
Monday 18th May 2015 – today I have to revise and update the contextual research document I made earlier in the schedule –
I want to submit this as supplementary research and development to illustrate how the artist (me) has worked with the project team in order to influence the design process. Not easy to reduce and re-define what has gone before, but so much more has happened over the last few weeks, that I have to bring this up to date. Am in my studio here in Ramsgate trying to figure out the best approach. I think it’s going to be a late night !
Tuesday 12th and Wednesday 13th May 2015 -On Tuesday I travelled up to Cardiff from Ramsgate, Kent for a design meeting with Capita, the project architects. I was accompanied by Simon Fenoulhet of Celfwaith, who developed and is overseeing the Public Art Strategy for Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council along with Mererid Velios. Great to have someone with his experience with whom to navigate the project !
We discussed the draft development of the building and landscape and how the creative contextual research and analysis of the site, which I have been doing in order ‘to influence the design process’ is becoming a part of the interpretive strategy for the building. Once this process becomes more involved and collaborative then I hope we will see some really interesting narratives and themes emerging. We are continually having to address the function of this site as a Bus Station and interchange and the demands it brings to the project. That notwithstanding, the interpretation and contextual needs and aspirations for this site have to be seriously considered.
Thursday 30th April 2015 – This has been a crowded by very productive visit. Yesterday in the National Museum Cardiff and this morning meeting with the Principal of The College Merthyr Tydfil. What perhaps I didn’t mention in the last post, is that the aim of these meetings is to propose some form of engagement with educational establishments and local schools here in Merthyr, during the construction period of the new Bus Station.
This afternoon I had two very informative visits to local schools in Caedraw. St Mary’s Catholic School. Headteacher, Mrs K Wathan, unfortunately had to go to another meeting, I met with her deputy, assistant headteacher Mrs C Cope. St Mary’s school fields and perimeter fence run partly along Swan Street, juts opposite the site of the new Bus Station. This obviously raises questions about security, noise, transparency and the increased pedestrian activity on the site. As the schools are actually side by side and share a perimeter fence, very much the same issues arose when talking to Mrs J Watkins, Headteacher of Caedraw Primary Schooland her Deputy Head, Miss D Williams.
These issues notwithstanding, the purpose of my visit was to discuss the opportunity for engagement with the schools and pupils. This could be by way of a drawing or writing project about Bus Stations, or transport – or even to explore the impact of the new Bus Station on their school day. Quite often on project such as this the main contractor, once appointed, would engage with the local community. Often this translates as artwork on the site hoardings – which can be very visual and effective – to learning visits by children to the project site throughout the build programme to see exactly how this building is constructed.
I would like to see the contractors and other site specialists visit the schools to talk to the children about their work. I will develop this proposal in more detail over the coming weeks. WATCH THIS SPACE!
One of the hundreds of miners who worked on the project volunteered to come to the local primary school to be the model for our Combe Down Miners Ceramic Project. Most of the miners came from South Wales.
Thursday 30th April 2015 – I met with John O ‘Shea, Principal of The College Merthyr Tydfil . We talked about the history of the Old FE College and the state of the art new building the college now occupies. I wanted to know more about the aspirations for students coming to this site and how they travelled to get here. The Bus Station project is part of a wider transportation and communication network in the town and region. Many students walk from the train station, so pedestrian routes through the town are of great importance.
The new building by RMJM Architects (who acquired YRM, the Architects of the original 1960’s college building) sits within an extended and spacious public realm with clear desire lines to the pedestrian link bridge. The feasibility study which is considering replacing the current structure with another design which also links to the new Bus Station, is a critical part of the transport strategy for the project. The building also sits upon the site of the former Ynsyfach Ironworks, which was extensively excavated and documented by the Glamorgan Gwent Archaeological Trustbefore the new building was erected.
Robert Imiolczyk, Head of Estates at The College has also been a great help and has a wonderful and detailed photographic record of the earlier archaeological works undertaken on the site by GGAT. He has allowed me to reproduce some of the images here.
The original College of Further Education by Yorke, Rosenberg & Mardell Architects (becoming YRM) is seen here circa 1960 – bottom centre of image. Just above this can be seen the original Iron Bridge at Ynysgau by Watkin George.To the right of the image can be seen the double weir on the River Taff. There is now only one weir which sits just up river from the St Tydfils Shopping Centre footbridge.
Very interesting to see the list of project contractors – especially Merthyr Ceramics Ltd who supplied ceramic floor tiles.
The brick arched furnace on the far right can still be seen today behind the main college buildings.
The image above shows the excavated Refinery Building. This description is provided by Richard Lewis, Head of Projects for GGAT, who managed the excavation programme.
“The casting bed in the refinery are run out bays and water troughs. The iron ore (and limestone and coke) was fired in the blast furnace and cast into pigs in the casting house which was located in between the furnaces and refinery. The pigs were then taken to the refinery and subjected to further firing in an oxidising furnace and then the molten metal run out on a tray that sat on top of the long rectangular metal cistern (as seen in your photo) filled with continuously flowing water. The molten metal quickly cooled on this plate to form tea-tray sized refined ‘finers’ wrought iron plates. The removal of further impurities was aided by water being thrown over the molten metal which caused the slag to mobilse (exploding off in tiny slag balls).”
St Tydfil’s Shopping Centre – I had the opportunity to get up on Wilkinson’s roof for an amazing 360 degree panoramic view of Merthyr and the surrounding hills. Nick Megor, the Shopping Centre Manager accompanied after gaining permission from Wilkinson’s Store Manager.
Nick also had a collection of aerial photographs of the local area probably taken in the late 1970’s / early 1980’s and during construction in the mid 1960’s of the pedestrian bridge linking the west side of the Taff to the east and the new – as then – shopping centre.
At the top left of this image can be seen the Merthyr Tydfil Bus Station – which is now on the move to a new site just out of shot here on the far right of this image on Swan Street.
On 5th March 2015, I made a presentation to the Bus Station Stakeholders Meeting of current contextual research in relation to the Bus Station project and the Link Bridge Study.
I thought it may be of interest to post all these images here. There are a fair few – so bear with it ! – it is useful to know how the research is being delivered and what is shaping my approach. The screenshot image below gives a clear idea of the number of images I am posting – stick with it as there are some great images and quotations…
I have credited all sources of information and am grateful to all organisations and individuals who have assisted me thus far. Where permissions to use images have not been possible, these images have been withdrawn from posting online.
Where Ordnance Survey Maps have been used, they are all out of copyright, however, I have added a credit – ‘Reproduced from the …date… Ordnance Survey Map’, which the Ordnance Survey suggest on their website.
At the scale above – the individual images are not so clear – so I have added all the images individually. It makes for a long post – but hopefully you will find something of interest here ! Here goes – Image No.1 …