de-Relics: Architectures of Industrialisation

By Michael Chapman
Byera Hadley Travelling Scholarship

Image Credit: Michael Chapman, Ulsan (2012)

This study set out to visit a number of important industrial centres from the nineteenth and early twentieth century and investigate the relationship between industrialisation and urban space. The project was specifically concerned with industrial waterfronts and the relationship between industrial and urban functionality. The patterns and strategies through which these spaces are reappropriated for post-industrial futures was also a key concern.

The study visited Sheffield, Stockholm, Gdansk, Riga, Odessa and Vladivostok. Each city has 
a unique character and an original relationship to its industrial infrastructure. While cities such 
as Riga and Sheffield have transitioned effectively into post-industrial reinventions of their 
industrial heritage, in Odessa and Gdansk, for instance, industry remains a vital and 
significant part of the urban life of the city.

The study found that industrialisation is a significant force in the development of these urban
centres, and has an important role in shaping the morphology, culture and spatial experience 
of these places. It also revealed that the relationship between industrial zones and 
recreational or cultural activities is often complex, and allows for unique opportunities to blur 
the artificial spatial boundaries that often keep these distinct. Industrial centres develop 
differently to commercial or global cities and this provides natural advantages as well as 
barriers in their development. Understanding the relationship between industrialisation and
the city as a critical concern as these cities move towards post-industrial futures. The study 
found that the industrial infrastructure that dominates the waterfronts in these cities is of 
inherent value as an urban archaeology, even once its manufacturing and productive capacity 
have dissipated.