Architecture students step back in time to help create heritage trail
Two international students studying at the University of Wolverhampton have taken a step back in time to help City of Wolverhampton Council create a new digital trail of one of the City’s most historic streets.
Aneuris De Los Santos Melos, 28 from the Dominican Republic and Farida Czarska-Chukwurah, from Poland, have just completed Master’s degrees in Building Information Modelling (BIM) at the University’s School of Architecture and Built Environment.
The Queen Street Digital Trail is part of a community engagement and outreach element of the Heritage Lottery Funded-Queen Street Townscape Heritage Scheme which was launched recently.
The trail comprises audio guides to some of the street’s historic buildings, many of which date back to the early 19th century.
For the project, the students researched the street’s history in different eras – between 1840 and 1870 and then from the 1870s onwards – using maps, drawings, archive material and historical documents to recreate building designs and create 3D models using BIM technology, laser scanning and various software packages.
Dr David Heesom, Reader in Building Information Modelling at the University, said: “There’s massive value in engaging our students in real live projects. It gives them context to what they’re studying and enables them to focus on real deadlines.”
Farida Czarska-Chukwurah, Master’s degree student in Architecture, said: “This was a really interesting project to work on. We spent a considerable time modelling Georgian and Victorian buildings. Many of them were knocked down and some of them hadn’t been built so we looked at two different eras, creating replica models using a variety of software.”
Aneuris De Los Santos Melos, Master’s degree student in Architecture, said: “Working on this heritage project was a huge opportunity because we had the chance to explore what we had learned during the Master’s course.”
The guides draw on research conducted by Friends of Wolverhampton Archives and the Queen Street project volunteers – the results of which have been published in a series of booklets that can be downloaded at https://bit.ly/2Ru88bK. Hard copies will also be printed for the Archives, city libraries, contributors, Queen Street partnership members and other stakeholders.
The Townscape Heritage Scheme is backed by a grant of £864,100 from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The council has also committed £250,000 of match funding to the overall project as part of its wider regeneration plans and £1.1 million will come from investment by the owners of the buildings who receive grants.
The scheme makes generous provision for the repair and enhancement of historic buildings, providing grants of up to 85 per cent towards these works.
Councillor John Reynolds, Cabinet Member for City Economy, said: “As a council, preserving the rich heritage and conservation areas in the city is as important to our regeneration plans as the millions of pounds being invested in new development.
“This new Queen Street Digital Trail emphasises that and all involved in the project deserve a lot of credit for what they have produced.
“In terms of the overall scheme, we will continue to work closely with the property owners, tenants, and our project partners, to develop proposals.
“This will help breathe new life into the area and its businesses, while at the same time staying true to the history of these wonderful buildings in our city.”
The Townscape Heritage Partnership includes the Wolverhampton Business Improvement District (BID), the Wolverhampton Civic and Historical Society, University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton Cultural Arts Organisation, Wolverhampton Partners in Progress, Wolverhampton Society of Architects, The Friends of the Archives, Wolverhampton Building Regeneration Preservation Trust and Wolverhampton College.
Find out more from the students on YouTube.
Anyone wanting to find out more about Architecture courses should register for the next Open Day on Saturday 2nd February 2019.
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