University of Sheffield
Hidden inside Castlegate’s old Police Station, the Secret Policeman’s Saloon provides an after-work club for the adjacent South Yorkshire Police’s headquarters in Sheffield’s city center.
Accommodating a bar, an illegal brewery, and a rugged hotel for the inebriated off-duty officers, the project aims to expose Castlegate’s immoral underbelly and monumentalize its specific archaeology in a way that resists the future development plans for the area.
The narrative of the project was developed alongside its physical architecture as the complexity of the place’s moral condition was explored. As such, an architecture was conceived through a filmic schedule of operations and allegorically driven through four literal reversals of current architectural paradigms in Castlegate and the contemporary architectural canon:
Architecture posits the FAKE (not the AUTHENTIC)
DARKNESS is the revealer of form (not LIGHT)
Humans are OFF-CENTER of divine creation (not AT the center)
Architecture is CONFRONTATION (not ACCOMMODATION)
These litanies, and every architectural idea, have been STOLEN from conveniently deceased architects so as to remove any responsibility for this illegal building from myself.
Augmented to propose a sustainable tactic to renovate the area in an alternate way to Sheffield Council’s disruptive gentrification plan, and in rewriting the future of a part of the city sous rature, the Saloon aims to challenge both Castlegate and the modern city’s current divorce between provision and consumption and address the relegation of the factory from the urban landscape while including the city’s essential (though condemned) marginal spaces and activities.
Though the project is drawn as if it exists some time in the past, it speculates a regressive future for Castlegate and the unanaesthetised city. Through the use of a constantly updating palette of salvaged materials, the Saloon tectonically crystallizes Castlegate’s current and past archaeology in order to provide spaces for the policemen to ultimately question their retreat from the progressive exhaustion of civic duty.
Should this criminal enterprise be disrupted by the authorities, the Saloon is designed to self-destruct in a blaze of glory, committing suicide by pulling the Old Police Station and the neighboring South Yorkshire Police Archive's walls in on themselves.
Deriving a Ghostwritten Ideogram: Applicable precedents were drawn from the Castlegate's general and more intimate situations. © Robert Taylor.
Old Police Station Isometric: The Saloon intervenes in an Old Police Station’s existing fabric. A bar and hotel provide a place for South Yorkshire Police Force’s officers to interrogate their relationship with the city’s spaces. © Robert Taylor.
A Plan of The Saloon Revealing its Accommodation: Though unconsecrated, the Saloon’s cruciform arrangement subverts traditional religious building typology, addressing Castlegate’s spiritual vacuum. © Robert Taylor.
Should the Saloon’s illegal operation be disrupted, it commits suicide, pulling the Old Police Station’s and its neighboring Police Records Archive walls in on themselves. © Robert Taylor.
University of Sheffield