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Ambleside Roman Fort inspires UCLan graduate’s architecture project

29 July 2015

Sarah Jones

Josh aims to bring locals and tourists together through grand design ideas

A Roman fort in Ambleside is the inspiration behind a University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) graduate’s architectural vision to forge stronger links between local people, tourists and those working in the Lake District National Park.

MArch Architecture student Josh Allington, from Barrow-in-Furness, used the Galava Fort site in Ambleside as the setting for his final year project, which he completed before graduating from the University in July with a distinction. His idea is to create a landscape and culture discovery centre over the ruins.

Josh looked in depth at creating a cohesion between the three disparate entities that make up the National Parks; the locals, the tourist industry and the National Park staff. Josh’s vision of a landscape and culture discovery centre looks to reintegrate people and visitors back into the natural landscape and encourage them to discover new areas for themselves, as well as providing a visual presence for the National Park authorities.

“The landscape is one of the driving features which attracts people to the Lake District. I looked at each entity supporting the other; the National Park staff will supply ground knowledge of the area to tourists, the locals will provide invaluable voluntary contributions to the National Park and the tourists will help in the economic sense” Josh explained.

The Galava Fort was once used as a Roman military warehouse that transported goods further afield across Cumbria to other Roman forts.

"I wanted the building to feel like the landscape, every viewpoint, inside and outside is completely different to the rest.”

Josh said: “I’m using this movement as an analogy within my project; the tourists would bring the wealth and economy to the area that would then be dispersed further afield as and when they tour around the area.”

One of the reasons he chose the particular site for his project was for the spectacular views from the top of Lake Windermere. Josh’s building design isn’t a replication of what existed, it instead pushes contemporary boundaries while retaining local tradition.

"I wanted the building to feel like the landscape, every viewpoint, inside and outside is completely different to the rest. The journey through the spaces becomes an experience, progressing up past the ruins providing a different viewing aspect. Finally 'ending' the building with the grandeur of an elevated position above Lake Windermere" the 23-year-old said.

Josh is no stranger to the Lake District working at developing the grounds of Cragwood hotel in Windermere alongside his UCLan studies. He feels he has approached the project using personal knowledge and experience of the area to his advantage rather than coming at it as an outsider.

Josh is also UCLan’s nominee for the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) President’s Silver Medal Award. The Awards are open to all schools of architecture that offer courses validated by the RIBA world-wide and aim to reward talent, promote innovation and encourage excellence.