Test Site

Sawmill – Site Visit

Images are from site exploration of the old sawmill on Kyrls Quay. Far from a ruin, materials holding strong.

The exploration of materials has come naturally as part of our examination of place here. The timber trusses, specifically Belfast Trusses, span the width of the warehouse behind this site and have been holding up the roof since its construction in the 1850’s. 

A truss is an assembly of beams which forms a rigid structure for buildings, bridges and even bicycle frames.

What stands out, peering behind the gates is the prevalence of wood in the construction of the warehouse.

Materials matter – the materials we work with will dictate the durability of what is built, the ecological and economic cost of extraction and transport and the options for re-use in a future life. 

The wooden fenders which marshall parts of the quay walls along the river are remains of the merchant past of the City Center. On historical maps of Cork we see Kyrl’s Quay noted as ‘Timber Quay’, here materials for the construction of the growing city would be off-loaded from ships coming up the harbour. 

Still in place, the quays wooden fenders are tiny islands of daisy or dandelion, herb robert and valerian. 

Dereliction and disuse are bitter sweet. Like the river fenders,  the old timber yard buzzes with life. 

To construct a building is a big deal. Placing a structure in the community is changing a streetscape or how a stranger will experience place. It is the same for removing buildings. Demolition feels like a savage act sometimes. The community begins to think about the building at risk, the materials, the design, the engineering, the attachment to place. 

Aoife has memories of the Timber Yard still operating, visiting as a child, as do others in the city. 

At TEST SITE, in the wooden pavilion constructed using Belfast Trusses as the roof structure, we want to consider and talk about how we make and remake the city, the buildings and how to co-create a flourishing multi-species urban future. 

🖊️MK 📸 AC