We were invited along with two other non-Danish practices to join a limited competition shortlist of eight practices in total for a competion to reinhabit disused spinning mills in the Jutland town of Vejle.

The brief was an eclectic mixture of uses including workshops, business space, two theatre spaces, a town museum, old peoples club and boxing club! Unfortunately our competiion entry was unsuccessful.

Our project at the Veijle Spinning Mills suggests 'a city within a city'. An enjoyable mixture of leisure and working uses is proposed within a predominately residential quarter of the town. There would be little point in locating all these functions in the same place if they were not organised in some way to encourage interaction between their different user groups. Those groups are highly diverse: artists, crafts people, a boxing club, an old people's social club, amateur and professional theatre groups and a City museum. The diversity will ensure activity throughout the day and by a wide range of age groups and interest groups.

We believe that the transformation of the Veijle spinning mills is both a social and an architectural project. We have set out above our strategy for encouraging the social success of the building, but we believe that, architecturally, there is no 'big idea'. Rather, we consider the success of the project will be demonstrated through many small moments of intervention and detail which together form a coherent vocabulary across the entire site and seek to set up an enjoyable juxtaposition with the preserved roughness of the original mills.

In contrast to the concrete frame and brick walls of the original buildings, we suggest a new language of steel structure and timber and glass linings. This palette of materials forms the external and internal cladding of the theatre, the staircases and enclosures of the new workshops and the portals to all the new facilities accessed from the foyer.

The foyer itself is populated by a café and the glass walls have a facility to slide away in the summer time so that the entire foyer can become one gigantic logia to the external square. The café, in effect, becomes the meeting place between all the different uses, both permanent and temporary within the complex.

To strengthen the idea of the square, we proposed an 'L' shaped block of housing on the empty site to the west. Servicing of the workshops and exhibition/museum facility forming a walled enclosure on the south/east corner of the site.

Architects  Richard Murphy, Graeme Armet, Tina Bergman, Peter Guthrie, Dave Morris
Client Vejle Council
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