Alexander Pringle: The viable foundry


The re-imagination of Whitechapel Bell Foundry as a 21st Century working environment, intensifying the site’s cultural significance

Whitechapel Road, Tower Hamlets, London. E1

To preserve the craft of casting metals and form a centre for the study of casting as well as provide apprenticeships and educational schemes for innovative craft. To preserve the UK’s oldest continuous industrial building.

The loss of cultural, industrial and historic pieces of city for the benefit of the few can be seen as a form of ‘cultural vandalism’. Current plans for the site include a boutique hotel and restaurant with severely limited retention of historically significant functions.

The original foundry will be sensitively repurposed as a series of archival and educational spaces. An extension to the rear will house larger scale spaces for more industrial functions and larger groups. Exhibition spaces, apprentice accommodation and a lecture hall will also be built.

The Viable Foundry is an opportunity to preserve the use and form of London’s historic industrial past and connect the public with craft to celebrate the process of making.