James Black


Project I: Walkers Refuge – Castleton, Peak District

For our first project, we were tasked with designing a walkers refuge in the peak district, just North of the small town, Castleton. The creation was to be a temporary, self-sufficient shelter for hikers in the area to stay comfortably overnight. The site we chose was a little way from the town, situated within a small cluster of trees overlooking the valley. Our design was inspired by the transition from the shelter of the trees to the open view across the valley and as such, we created a predominantly timber building with an entrance secluded in the trees and the main communal area and balcony sticking out into open space. Each bed compartment on the lower floor has its own view of the surroundings and there is ample room for equipment storage, along with a kitchen facility. We looked into having a green roof with meadow like vegetation to catch rainfall and small wind turbines to make use of the strong winds that funnel through the valley.


Project II: Theatre for Local Musicians – Ancoats, Manchester

Designing a theatre in Manchester was the challenge for our second project. The site was located just inside Ancoats, opposite the Daily Express building, not far from Manchesters Northern Quarter. Much of Ancoats is old industrial buildings, with an increasing number of apartment complexes appearing in the area. The neighbouring Northern Quarter is a trendy area, attracting many people who would make use of a theatre as night falls and day facilities begin to close. The theatre I have designed is for local, up and coming musicians of all genres, giving them an intimate venue with plenty of space and facilities. A key idea behind the design was having a strong brick structure containing the lifts and stairwell, and cantilevered off it, a lighter timber framed structure, housing the theatre space. With the site on a street corner, the ground floor is mostly open, allowing people to pass through, sit on the steps and experience the architecture without having to go inside. The Halle theatre close by focuses on formal events so my theatre would be more for ‘gig’ type events, with an open floor space and seating on the balcony on the second floor.



Project III: Housing in Burngreave, Sheffield

This Project tasked us to respond to a site Burngreave and come up with our own manifesto and agenda to design affordable housing. My manifesto is based around Sustainability and Urban Agriculture, giving residents the space to grow Veg, Herbs and Flowers in both their own private terraces and in a  communal courtyard, in attempt to promote others to grow their own food in Burngreave and possibly introduce allotment spaces throughout the city. With a Greengrocers and Cafe integrated towards the edge of the site facing the high street, the public can enjoy the courtyard and locals can sell excess herbs or flowers that they might grow. The Scheme is designed for anyone able to make use of the green spaces and who would be interested in the ideas behind the manifesto (with units suitable for elderly people, families and the disabled). The design focuses on creating a well kept, healthy courtyard surrounded by buildings which act as a barrier between the street edge and courtyard, with a hard brick exterior transferring to a soft timber interior.