I was approached by the architect developer Architekton to help them illustrate their ideas in the development of St Mary’s Works in Norwich. An ideal job for me as my pencils and brushes can get to work on great architecture and community living.
What is St Mary’s Works?
St Mary’s Works is located in what was once the industrial stronghold of Norwich. Derelict for forty years, this former shoe factory has been recently acquired with a view to creating a high quality regeneration.
Work will start in 2016/17 proposing a vibrant and diverse quarter with a mixed-use regeneration, which, subject to planning permission, will include residential living – starter homes, family homes, 55+ homes, live-work spaces, tech and creative hubs and the upgrading of access to two impressive Grade II listed churches and their church yards: St Mary Coslany and St Martin-at-Oak.
Architekton are all about maintaining communities by preserving and re using current architecture and building new structures that are sympathetic with the local environment and culture.
As they say on their website:
‘Architekton is a dynamic architect developer specialising in creating places that celebrate local identity, mixed uses, sustainable communities and walkable neighbourhoods.
We believe that the quality of the built environment exerts and critical effect on our quality of life, We are there for passionate about improving the beauty and desirability of the built environment for the benefits of those who live and work there.’
The idea for illustrating St Mary’s Works
Technical drawings are informative in showing the structures position, dimensions, and related spaces although they can often have a bit of a chilly feel to them. They can lack the essential element of humanity that is crucial to contented living.
Architekton wanted an illustration that showed something about the community they were trying to create. An environment where you are subtlety encouraged to walk, and engage rather than drive.
Developing the illustration of St Mary’s Works
A site visit was not possible so using the technical drawings, photos and good old Google Street View, we slowly worked up the view we needed.
Architekton also suggested a cutaway of the old factory to show how it being used as modern offices. I was most pleased to bring attention to this as many older buildings can be intelligently converted to modern uses rather than simply demolishing them.
It was also good to see the church being incorporated into the development, one space moves elegantly into the next.
Once we were happy with the initial drawings, I moved onto working up the final illustration.
I really enjoyed working on this project. Developments like St Mary’s Works really show once again that with community consultation, creativity, and care we can maintain, and sustain our city spaces with humanity.
“At at short notice, we gave Liam a rather vague brief and tight deadline. Without delay he threw himself into producing two exquisite images that went far beyond perfectly interpreting our instructions by further developing the ideas and themes we were trying to create. Everyone who have since seen the paintings are both charmed and instantly able to understand the spirit of the places we are creating. Above all, Liam is a pleasure to work with and always gracious, even when we here are at our fussiest and most indecisive!”
Chief Architect RIBA