“What we do depends on who we are; but it is necessary to add also that we are, to a certain extent, what we do, and that we are creating ourselves continually”
Henri Bergson, 1907.
Since the closure of the Royal Docks, Silvertown in East London went from being part of the largest dock in the world to a ghost town, a place of memory. Silvertown ship breaking yard will not only provide the local community with highly skilled jobs but through the creative process of playing, testing, experimenting and reconstructing ship elements, new individual and communal identities for Silvertown’s inhabitants will be created. The project can be categorised into three stages.
Ships are broken up through a complex process which takes place inside the breaking chamber, a specially designed channel for the extraction of elements where the lighter parts are removed first and the heavier structural parts last -- the reverse of traditional construction. Throughout this deconstruction process, elements are extracted either to be recycled through sale at a scrap yard and flea market or to be used for experimental reconstruction.
The inhabitants experiment with elements of broken ships into new potential forms of architecture. This process takes place inside the Ludic chamber of the ‘Trawler Jig’ where elements are suspended. Through a winch-and-pulley system the community are able to reposition, test and experiment with new forms of their own desired architecture.
Construction rules are defined through a library of hybrid details which outline the system, the rules of ‘the game’, but do not completely define the output of this creative process. The resultant architecture is then placed around the site by the trawler jig. As the rogue community becomes more developed and experienced, the architecture produced becomes improved and updated.
Through this highly skilled creative and evolutionary process, a new identity is created for Silvertown. The lives of the inhabitants are enriched with their creative potential achieved.