This collection of images were taken during the development of the new Emptyset film project Trawsfynydd produced on location at Trawsfynydd Nuclear Power Station in Snowdonia, North Wales.
Here is some background to the building’s history: it was designed by the Modernist architect Basil Spence, one of the key pioneers of British post war architecture, known for both Coventry Cathedral and the British Embassy in Rome. The site was the first inland civil power station in the UK and at the time formed a pioneering meeting point between architecture and industry. Trawsfynydd started service in 1965 and produced energy from a Magnox uranium reactor system for a 26 year period ending its active life in 1991.
Now the power station exists in a state of decommissioning: the reactor was defuelled in 1995, beginning the site’s trajectory of gradual deconstruction. The central core will be cooling until 2016 ahead of the safe storage of waste, and the building will ultimately be demolished and the site returned to Snowdonia in 2083!
The film Emptyset will premiere as part of Late at Tate Britain: Performing Architecture is constructed from spatial recordings and video captured inside the vast Modernist interior examining a moment in time within the life of this landmark structure, considering both its industrial legacy and transitional future. This new film sits within a broader body of our work titled Material examining wider themes of architecture, nature and recursion - a vinyl release will be presented in spring 2013 documenting a series of site specific installations and recordings.
The project continues from the 2012 film Medium, which was developed around Woodchester Mansion in Gloucestershire. In Medium an unfinished remnant of the Gothic Revival became the site for a combination of live performance, sonic feedback and video documentation, as a means of reinterpreting and translating the physical space of the mansion. Medium addressed the notion of a building in transition, examining the tension between construction and incompleteness and exploring the unique structural form through sonic intervention and video, capturing and translating the architecture into an immersive composite.
Following on from Medium, Trawsfynydd examines a secondary premise within the architectural cycle, shifting from a space never to be completed to one that has instead finished its functional arc and now faces a gradual dissolution. What is architecture when it’s function is lost?