Former Spode Works, Stoke Town

One of the mould stores at Spode
One of the mould stores at Spode
The "Great Wall" installed for the British Ceramics Biennial
The "Great Wall" installed for the British Ceramics Biennial
Opening Night of the British Ceramics Biennial
Opening Night of the British Ceramics Biennial
The former Spode museum space
The former Spode museum space
The stable block at Spode - proposed home for the museum
The stable block at Spode - proposed home for the museum
Project date
03.05.2011
Type
  • Architecture
Location
West Midlands
Clients
Stoke-on-Trent City Council
Associated team members
Associated documents

The central part of the Stoke Town Masterplan is the former Spode ceramics works. Established on the site in 1773, the works occupy about 4ha right next to the both old and new town halls.  Buildings of varying quality added throughout its life it finally closed in 2009. URBED's job has been to both preserve this invaluable industrial heritage and use it to help re-establish a functioning vibrant town centre. Rarely have we had such an opportunity - to grow back into about 300,000sq.ft of space varying between the intimate and vast, the domestic and the industrial. The resource allows Stoke to grow and nurture its surprisingly large and unique creative base alongside complimentary retail, leisure and other business use. The existing layout allows once industrial roadways to form intimate urban streets that will knit into the rest of the town and create a unique sense of place that should help deliver Stoke town's potential.

The first phase of bringing the Spode works back into use was to house the British Ceramics Biennial (BCB),  transforming the former production halls into a new exhibition space for Stoke. This allowed access to spaces around which can form studio spaces for artists and other businesses not wanting hi-spec space. The BCB filled 40,000sq,ft with a vast array of ceramics from international artists to stokes surviving ceramics industry. URBED designed and procured the 'Great Wall' to accommodate the exhibits from industry  - still producing a considerable breadth and quantity. The exhibition ran for 6 weeks with a pop-up cafe providing tea and cakes on classic Stoke porcelain.

Getting the BCB into the production hall was not the end of the project. The vision for Stoke Town was all about grow your own urbanism - a gradual process of change, but making sure the past is there to calibrate that change. With this in mind another phase is to get the Spode Museum Trust into a temporary home so that a small part of their huge collection can be seen. The original museum space (pictured) will hopefully one day retrieve its role but for now we are looking at accommodating the Trust in the former stable block.

Please see more about the masterplan work we completed for this area: Stoke Town and Spode Works Masterplan