Year | 2021
Location | Dover, Kent, UK
Clients | English Heritage

In the early stages of this project, our team actively researched various aspects including history, natural environment, social data, and overall planning. While researching, we also communicated with the client and various community organizations in the area. Based on these, we determined this regenerated hub is envisioned to provide exciting opportunities to the Dover community, demonstrated through robust design options refined by the team to meet key aims: complement the role of the castle as a heritage visitor attraction, generate revenue, and support the sustainability of the wider site.

During the site visit week, engagement sessions took place at different locations in Dover with various stakeholders present, such as local schools, members of the community, and existing arts groups which were fruitful in creating collaborative conversations about the visions and aspirations for this future historic hub. These ideas were refined in order to align with the design input from the team, wider stakeholder groups, and the four main priorities from the charity: inspiration, conservation, wider community participation, and financial sustainability. It was these activities that made us realize how different it is to organize and take charge of a project on our own versus just completing a project at school. We felt that more details need to be considered and also more encouraged by the expectations that could be met.

After summarizing the content we gained from previous studies and engagement events, our team split into three-team to work which are the feasibility report team, option 1– The Maker Experience team, and option 2- The Luxury Hotel Experience team. The proposal set out in Option 1 seeks to draw in more domestic visitors to the Dover Castle Grounds. The proposed Maker, draws on EH’s core guidelines of Inspiring, Conserving and Involving people in their heritage and making them feel like they are making active contributions towards it. The provision of a visitor hotel accommodates a growing market towards a high demand market for short term stays, allowing for a building that is financially self-sustaining. This caters to visitors from different social and financial backgrounds, allowing for everyone to get a taste of the Dover Castle Experience. The Luxury Hotel Experience Is highly geared towards EH’s goal of creating an independent and financially sustainable future. Drawing on an existing and growing market of short-term domestic holiday lets, the proposal seeks to create a more immersive experience, where visitors here, unlike any other heritage site are truly immersed within the grounds around the clock. This proposal envisions the ONB building as the Key to the rest of the Castle grounds, linking the many heritage marvels and allowing visitors to embark on journeys through the different ages.

At the final stage, our team collated these into a detailed design pack of the feasibility studies, a book including updated technical drawings for the ONB, and marketing material in the form of a leaflet and aspirational visual images to be presented to the wider board from the English Heritage. This package can then be utilised by members of English Heritage as a springboard for communicating and evolving these ideas further, beyond the six weeks of the project, along with the 15-year masterplan of the long-term vision for the castle.

Credits:

Mentor: Wai Piu Wong
Client: English Heritage
Location: Dover, Kent, UK
Students: Anthony Wong, Zubaydah JIbrilu, Mae Ghali, Zhou Meng, Jun Wang, Ziyi Li, Sophia Hutchinson, Timo van Dalen, Tao Zheng, Jialin Li, Patricia Sangalang, Rachana Bhor, Harini Shah, Ella MacLeod.

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