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ARCA, the Archive for Rural Contemporary Architecture is an open-source online archive and Guidebook.

WHAT IS ARCA?

ARCA, the Archive for Contemporary Rural Architecture will be launched as an Open Access online archive and stunning unconventional Guidebook. We have been surveying, collating and photographing the UK's strange, often overlooked and unsung twentieth century rural architectural sites over the past four years. The listed buildings range from dramatic Cold War sites to a derelict Roman Catholic Seminary just outside Glasgow. Some of these sites are being updated and reused, therefore allowing their culture and memory to live on whilst also gaining contemporary relevance. The site below, literally unknown to locals during its operation, was the UK's largest atomic bomb storage depot during the Cold War. The 23 acre site in Norwich now houses small skilled industries and craft workshops which contribute to the meticulous restoration of the site, complete with Watch Towers.

Cold War site, Norwich with present owner Keith Eldred.
Cold War site, Norwich with present owner Keith Eldred.

Many of these sites have fascinating stories attached and the open-source archive will allow users to up load their own experiences and participate in the debate surrounding their future use and how they can become part our the 21st-century consciousness.

Torness Power Station Nature Trail, East Lothian.
Torness Power Station Nature Trail, East Lothian.

ARCA GUIDEBOOK

Dummy page layout.
Dummy page layout.

Not only will the Guidebook present commanding and daring structures categorised into typologies, but ARCA will become a roadmap for extending the debate around these structures. The publication, in the format of a contemporary Guidebook with full-colour photos and map references, will encourage explorers to visit the sites and experience them first hand as well as to help build awareness around this unique and endangered recent history and encourage innovative uses for those buildings under threat.

We have engaged Mass Observation, www.massobservation.org a graphic design practice and art publisher who shares our passion with the mechanics of the built environment, to produce the Guidebook and design the website. 

ARCA SOUVENIRS

We would love you to engage with ARCA, whether becoming a member, owning a dishcloth or art piece, or we hope a copy of our ARCA Guidebook which should inspire you to trudge off and discover part of the UK's little known sites, guaranteed you will be rewarded. 

The more we visit the more we uncover. Whether it's World War II Pill Boxes at Warden Point which are slipping into the River Thames with the threat of coastal erosion, or the peculiarity of a Nature Trail surrounding the Torness Nuclear Power Station which sits proud on Scotland's East Coast. All of these poetic and aesthetically daring structures have left indelible marks on the UK's landscape and lead us to question how the rural idyll of the UK is changing.

Thank you and enjoy!

Designer Charlene Mullen and one of her panoramic embroideries.
Designer Charlene Mullen and one of her panoramic embroideries.

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

We are very near to completing a comprehensive archive of projects that extends to 35 sites, and collating all the material for a full colour 112 page publication. Mass Observation have worked on web-site delivery and many publications with a printer in Eindhoven so we are cautiously but optimistically confident that we will deliver the project on time and with care.

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  • Pledge £5 or more
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    4 backers

    Membership to ARCA for one year. Updates on all Architours, debates, website updates and events organised by ARCA, you will be the first to know!

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    1 backer

    We gratefully acknowledge your support on our web-site and we'll send you a lovely ARCA explorer shopping bag, many thanks!

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  • Pledge £15 or more
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    4 backers

    A beautiful dishcloth especially commissioned from the talented London based designer Charlene Mullen www.charlenemullen.com, one year membership to ARCA and a thank you on the website, we really appreciate it!

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  • Pledge £25 or more
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    10 backers

    A beautiful dishcloth especially commissioned from the talented London based designer Charlene Mullen www.charlenemullen.com, the ARCA Guidebook and a big thank you on the website.

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  • Pledge £50 or more
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    2 backers Limited (58 left of 60)

    A signed copy of the ARCA Guidebook, a beautiful dishcloth especially commissioned from the talented London based designer Charlene Mullen www.charlenemullen.com, and an invitation to the Publication Launch at a little known subterranean secret site, bang in the centre of London.

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  • Pledge £75 or more
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    2 backers Limited (58 left of 60)

    A signed copy of the ARCA Guidebook, a beautiful dishcloth especially commissioned from the talented London based designer Charlene Mullen www.charlenemullen.com, a digital ARCA site photographic print (10 x 8 in) and an invite to the Publication Launch at a little known subterranean secret site, bang in the centre of London.

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  • Pledge £125 or more
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    3 backers Limited (47 left of 50)

    ARCA have commissioned Charlene Mullen to design a limited edition wall hanging, hand embroidered of a panoramic of ARCA sites, approx. dimensions 55 cm x 23 cm, on Irish linen, www.charlenemullen.com. Backers will also receive a copy of the ARCA Guidebook and invite to the Publication Launch.

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  • Pledge £325 or more
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    1 backer Limited (3 left of 4)

    As well as the ARCA Guidebook, dishcloth and photographic print, we would love to take you on a guided tour to Suffolk's Orford Ness Pagoda Site for a group of 5. The tour involves the boat trip to the island from Aldeburgh and entry fee plus fish and chips on the beach to round off the day. Group to arrange travel to Aldeburgh, Suffolk, UK. Invite to the Publication Launch included.

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Funding period

- (40 days)