LOCATION: Architectural Association, School of Architecture, London, UK
Having transformed from an upland agricultural terrain to one dominated by industry, the Slate Landscapes of northwest Wales now face a post-industrial renaissance.
Between 1850–70, during the ‘golden age’ of the slate industry in northwest Wales, quarrying and mining transformed the quiet, mountainous region of Eryri. A new landscape emerged that was scattered with cultural settlements and punctuated by piles of debris as industrial infrastructure was etched into its terrain. Almost two centuries later, many quarries have closed. However, the creation of the Eryri (Snowdonia) National Park in 1951 and the designation of UNESCO World Heritage Site status upon the Slate Landscape of northwest Wales in 2021 have underscored the importance of preserving the area.
This year, INTER15 continues to explore notions of local and land. We will focus on managed and rural landscapes within Eryri National Park, documenting its evolving territories through a critical lens to initiate discussions on land use and preservation. We will examine how the unique topographical, geological and cultural identity of this Welsh region can flourish by reimagining its present political, social and environmental conditions.
The unit explores architecture as a spatial process of collaborative and material engagement that unfolds over time. By investigating different ways of inhabiting spaces and existing ecologies, we work to generate unique building cultures and distinct local vernaculars, building with the landscape and offering a hopeful perspective as we look towards a carbon neutral future. Architecture is not stagnant; it is instead an ever-evolving physical and social landscape that we record, use, question and draw inspiration from, to design spaces that respond to these restless conditions.
We will explore, research and design through processes of making, and will exercise rigour and curiosity to work at a range of scales and using a variety of approaches and media. Through collaboration and discussion, by developing our contextual understanding, and by making intelligent use of materials and construction methods, we will generate an architecture of generosity and resilience.
Tutors: Nichola Barrington-Leach, Caroline Pepper