28_Ben Sykes-Thompson: The Millenium Mills



Im originally from London, but moved when I was young to the Norfolk on the East Coast of England. Growing up in the middle of the countryside, my initial arrival in London to study architecture provoked a deep interest in cities and their various rhythms and flows. In both my second year and third year i somehow slipped back into looking at large scale public projects, aimed at engaging the user on both a human scale within, but also addressing a city wide scale.

Even though this is the case, any opportunity i get i like to get out of the city and go hiking/trekking etc. hiking across Iceland and through the Arctic Circle in Sweden with my friend in recent years.

Currently im living in Tokyo for two years, spending the first year learning Japanese and then hopefully working in a firm next year. Im deeply fascinated by the materiality of the small scale residential housing present here, and really want to explore these areas more as soon as possible.

For him, P1 led directly to P2 --- therefore, we are showing all his research.



The nature of movement around a modern city has steadily distanced our spatial understanding from the geographically accurate. As we move around below ground, or follow continually repeated routes from the station to work, we construct a 'Personal Archipelago' of points we know - digesting the overwhelming scale of the built environment down to manageable mental maps. These maps are constantly updating and shifting, as we explore new areas or stop frequenting a certain area. In this project I attempted to pin down my personal archipelago in London and map it out. First by exploring the notion of memory and how spaces are remembered, and then mapping these fragments across the geographically factual.



A progression from my first project, I became fascinated in how people navigate and remember large spaces, not just through site but all senses often overlooked. I had also explored the notion of the city of 'signs' and the role monuments play as our collective 'anchor points' off which we navigate our mental maps of our city.

The Millennium Mills Building, built in 1905, now stands as the last remaining wharehouse in London's forgotten Royal Docks. The project sees to inhabit this monument and engage the users by creating a sensory park based upon sight, sound and smell. In part in the older tradition of parks providing repose within the city, here that role is accentuated by inserting new facilities through which citizens are able to self diagnose early stage problems caused by the modern city. As well as this community-distributed model of healthcare, the monuments scale called for an explored way for their journey to be remembered and understood. By using various points connected throughout, with smell, sight or sound, the users as they pass through this monument and urban park fully comprehend the scale and history of the building, and mentally map the space - creating a complete image of the monument - one that transcends the typical image of a monument as a facade or 'sign'.