Wednesday, April 12, 2006

What & Why?

Dalton Mills can offer exciting ideas for exhibitions, installations and interpretation to help build on its cultural value and support the transition of historic buildings in Yorkshire to a contemporary use. To get this right there must be an understanding and appreciation of what is currently there, the character must be captured to provide a basis for interpretation. This is what The 4th Dimension project is achieving, the work has the potential to culminate in an exhibition, installation or publication, or maybe something else, but the importance of this work is what it is capturing.

The existing space, steeped in history and ready for redevelopment offers a basis for some exciting opportunities. Yorkshire’s industrial heritage is ingrained in its culture. Salts Mill, Dean Clough and Lister Mills are excellent examples of how this unique heritage has been adapted and renewed to have not only a future, but a cultural significance in the 21st century.

In terms of planning, when you look at what Yorkshire has to offer, particularly the Leeds City Region, its an attractive proposition. Many of the Victorian entrepreneurs created mills outside of cities for cleaner working conditions but close enough for easy access by rail or canal for transportation of goods. This style of location is now a sought after commodity with people seeking a much more achievable live ­– work balance in today’s society, a rural lifestyle with quick and easy transport to a cosmopolitan city centre.

These mills can offer a unique type of space, originally designed for their industrial use it almost seems that they are better suited to today’s society. Where else can you get such vast space, in such ornate surroundings with such exceptional views?

Dalton Mills - The Fourth Dimension

'The Fourth Dimension' relates to the new dimension used with 3D modelling - time.

With the current climate of striving to work towards a more efficient future of architectural regeneration with the aid of 4D modelling, interactive environments and intelligent computer aided design it is important we don't overlook valuable heritage and we look at what is there, now, capturing an atmosphere and unique character that can only have been created by time, the past. This can also offer a basis for the future though, possibly a more meaningful one, by really appreciating and capturing what is there, heritage is preserved and a valuable resource can offer insight to the character and spirit that has evolved which can help successful future regeneration.

Maybe its the potential for the future, not the fear of it, that contributes to the atmosphere of a building that is currently empty, derelict and full of space, a valuable commodity in todays urban development.

Dalton Mills in Keighley is at a stage of its life that offers a perfect opportunity to explore its present empty state along with all its character that has accumulated over the last 130 years or so. Theres no doubt that these buildings and many like them are full of exciting potential for future use, in some cases even more appropriate in todays society than in their original intended use. By capturing their character and atmosphere whilst in a basic, raw and empty state with all their history and identity, this heritage is not only recorded but can offer a more meaningful influence to fulfill their potential in the future.