28th February 2021

Recycling and the preservation of local heritage

We are working with the University of Dundee to develop a campus wide wayfinding and signage scheme that responds to its urban and cultural context, and its relationship to the city of Dundee. 

Located in a conservation area, the inner city campus is situated within the historic West End and includes a large proportion of tenement buildings built for house workers, primarily those involved in the Jute industry in the late 19th century.

Although many of these buildings survive and form part of the architectural character of campus, we had discovered a four-storey block that was set for demolition due to major structural deterioration.

We saw this as an exciting opportunity to re-purpose the building stone and allow for story telling through recycling and preservation.

Sections of the building along with various historic architectural details have been identified to be reclaimed and used in a series of gabion-style monoliths and totems across campus. The reclaimed stone forms the structural body of the signs which are wrapped with recyclable aluminium panels and screen printed graphics.

A palette of robust and durable details and simple construction methods all allow for the signage to be procured, sourced and manufactured locally. Minimising the use of new resources and providing low embodied energy of materials the project delivers on the principles of sustainability and return of local economic investment.

The design ‘speaks of Dundee’ and is expressed through a combination of informality and gravitas. The wayfinding scheme provides a strong and positive contribution to the character of the city; honouring the past while creating an expression for the new.