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2016 Graduates

The Ones to Watch

in Blueprint, Issue 348, 2016

By Russell Curtis

SAM DISTON

UNIVERSITY OF SHEFFIELD

Architecture

'Focusing on one particular cultural aspect of the post-industrial North, Sam Diston uses the brass band as the starting point for a striking proposal in the town of Mexborough. There is quite a skill in proceeding with a self-defined brief such as this without slipping into the 'Brassed Off' cliché of flat caps and whippets, but Sam avoids this through a beautifully illustrated scheme, which proposes a new music school as a device for encouraging community cohesion.

'Providing performance, training and education spaces, the external envelope is wrapped elegantly in folded brass sheets which recall both musical rhythm and the patina of instruments without falling back on lazy reinterpretation of their form. Instead, a bold intervention into the urban fabric presents an elegant but clearly civic frontage to the town square, with a series of public spaces threaded between, presenting further spaces for performance and other community functions. The deployment of cultural heritage as a device for reinvigorating deprived communities is nothing new, but here it is presented in a visually striking and coherent manner.'