We didn;t want to be so boring and predictable as to assume we should make the site some sort of mixed used, cafe and leisure space, as so many of these already exist and is such a copy and paste method of development for large open sites such as this. Instead some of our initial concepts stemmed from what we could see our clientele being. Our options were limited as the area is rather scarcely populated. And at that, only by park and ride commuters or graffiti artists. Since the commuters aren’t actually using or interested in the area we realised the only people who are choosing to use the site and surroundings are the graffiti artists.
From there we broadened our target, based on this knowledge, to possible artsier types. If graffiti artists will come there because there is space to create, maybe dancers will come there to dance in the space, and those seeking something different, out of the mainstream and hidden away will come there because no one else does.
In turn this sparked ideas about the already existing underground scene. Places such as Lunacy, Incognito or Checkmate, to name a few, are out of the way of the city centre, of public knowledge, of the mainstream nighttime scene. They are in areas where high movement and high noise is not as much of a risk. That it will not be noticed by the ordinary individual.
Similarly this idea of high movement and high noise was intriguing to us. We were situated in an area with little to no people around, a motorway on one side, a train track on the other and a subway rattling underneath. The high noise aspect was already prevalent, so this would not be an issue. All we then had to bring was the high movement, which we already new would not disrupt anything locally. And it was already in an undiscovered area, something which these ‘hipster’ communities, the clientele of such underground scenes, thrive on.
However, with such a big site, would it have been too big to house just a club? We broadened our horizons once more, looking at day use too. Possibly a skate park? There was large open space and plenty of level changes to be of use. Maybe to retain space for the graffiti artists to as they seem to have already grown somewhat of an artists community around it, it would only be fair to allow them their space to create.
Or maybe it could have been less organic art? A large manufactured gallery space? Even and organic gallery space? Whatever it would be we knew it would be following an artistic route. We also focused on the ‘risk’ aspect. It would be a risk to let the artistic side grow organically, to not touch the building at all, or make it seem so at least. People like risk so although it could be made technically safe, their could be the literal and metaphorical facade of risk – with the underground scene and the ‘crumbling’ walls making for this.
All these ideas we had flowing sounded great but we could not decide on one, or take one to a creative, out of the box enough, level. We then realised we should look around the wider locale.