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Artisan Exchange by Scarlett Whalan

This project explores the threshold between the public street and the inner workings of a building and how architecture can provide an interactive edifice which is free of digital stimulation but rather focuses on the immediate environment.

The Artisan Exchange provides a platform for artisans to practise and share lost industrial trades; Glass Blowing, Metal Smithing, Leatherworks and Timber Joinery. Utilising Newcastle’s forgotten Telephone Exchange, on the corner of King and Perkins St, the Artisan Exchanges incorporates, practical teaching, exhibition spaces, retail space as well as both public and private arts studios.

The Artisan Exchange revitalises a historic Newcastle building and site expanding the public street across the split ground level between King and Hunter St, whilst providing more intimate spaces for the artisan above the streetscape with visual connections to the city.

This project questions society’s reliance on technology, mass production and public interaction by reaching back to the basis of human performance within architecture. It focuses not on the ‘slick, new and timelessness’ environment created by technology but the tactile details and ageing of the physical reality.