Unit XVIII: Carbon Pasts, Low-Carbon Future
A sustainable future for Crumlin Navigation Colliery.
As the climate crisis underlines the need to maximise the reuse of buildings and safeguard embodied carbon, the current pandemic calls into question the reliance of heritage on tourism and starkly underlines economic divides. Unit XVIII focused on the grade II* listed Crumlin Navigation Colliery, located in the heart of the Welsh Valleys. As the best-preserved colliery complex in south Wales, 'The Navigation' symbolises many of the historic and current issues facing the wider region. Once the source of high-quality steam coal, the site now has the potential to harness onsite low-carbon technologies and provide solutions for the surrounding communities.
The unit challenged students to make proposals for the site’s sustainable low carbon future, considering historic building conservation, industrial heritage, retrofit, adaptive reuse, low carbon design and economy, social inclusion, the UK’s carbon legacy, and our role in tackling the climate emergency.
The primer commenced with group work to build a comprehensive dossier of information which was then shared as a unit resource. In gathering this information, students used archival research, surveying techniques, sketching, photography, and community engagement. In parallel the students used artistic methods to capture their own initial personal responses to the site.
Using the work collated during the primer, each member of the unit undertook further research to define their thesis proposition and concept and make their own individual proposals. In the development of their proposals, they were encouraged to engage with physical methods of design (sketching, painting, modelmaking) as well as their digital counterparts.
In February, the students undertook a study trip to Manchester, Bradford, and Halifax to see examples of adaptive reuse of industrial heritage and meet their architects.
You are invited to join us at the site on Sunday 26th June 11:00-16:00.