The approach taken by Continuity in Architecture is grounded in the notion of context and contextualism which, broadly speaking, considers architecture through a deep analysis of the quality and nature of the urban environment. We are interested in the cultural heritage of the city, not only in its historical artefacts but also in the way people may have used its buildings and spaces. We believe that it is important to understand and analyse these intangible aspects of historic fabric in order to engage with it in a meaningful and dynamic way. We use the findings of this analysis to help interpret meaning and inform the construction of new elements – ones which contribute to the ongoing evolution and distinctiveness of a place.
Continuity in Architecture has continued its research into the future of Historic High Streets, working on a series of sites in Accrington in the North of England. The investigations took place in Years 3, 5 and 6, with open dialogue and vertical projects connecting the pieces together. We agree with John Lloyd in his article titled ‘The Closing of the High Street Theatres’, 2020, that these smaller shopping areas “... were - and still are - theatres of human interaction”. In a world still in the midst of the global pandemic of COVID-19, we believe that successful places are made by weaving together buildings, landscape and people into a versatile, functioning environment.
Year 3 CiA worked on a complex site flanked by Accrington Town Hall (Grade II*), Accrington Market Hall (Grade II), along with Broadway and Blackburn Road historic high streets. The site, currently utilised as back of house/car parking, has been transformed by students through reuse and new interventions into a place that encourages a convivial coming together of people – an extension, elaboration, or reimagination, of the Historic High Street.