Funda Kemal

A photography exhibition by Funda Kemal
16 February - 9 March 2022

When buildings are demolished, there is more lost than just bricks and mortar. Buildings tell the stories of our ancestors, societies and places. They embody collective memory and identity through the traces of humanity within them, the character they create in our streets and the relationships we form with them. There are also the earth’s resources that go into creating them, the embodied carbon locked in as long as the building exists. Yet here in 2022, there is still little economic value identified in any of this. Buildings like
the Bath Press are being lost in every town and city in the world as their significance is reduced to profitability and façadism. The human stories  embodied by buildings and the sense of belonging this can bring to communities, however disparate, does not feature in
these decisions. Over 200 people were employed in the Bath Press in 2007 when it was closed. It began life as the location of Isaac Pitman & Sons Phonetic Institute in 1889. The terraced houses to the rear were homes for the workers and it was extended as a printing works and offices throughout the early part of the Twentieth Century. The site remained empty,
except for an art exhibition, until its demolition in 2017. Nature began to reclaim it during that time, and the layers of human history began to peel away.
These photographs were taken in 2015, two years before the buildings were demolished leaving the facade and chimney standing as the only extant remnants regarded to be of historic significance. Those were all our planning system could save. Yet the building embodied a collective identity for many local people over many decades. This was not just a place of work but a place where people spent much of their lives, in large naturally lit factory floors full of machines - and their traces are everywhere.

Funda Kemal is a Bath based freelance architect, artist and writer. Her work centres on the connections between people and planet and the preservation of both. She is a founder member of the local not for profit organisation ‘Architecture Is...’ created to enable professionals from all disciplines and the public to come together with the common cause of designing places for the
health and well being of all.