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Miranda Hornsby, MArch Architecture

21st June 2022

Architecture MArch Student Miranda Hornsby’s final major project is a response to the climate change at Derwent Valley in County Durham and protecting its historic natural springs while challenging humanity to carefully consider its effect on Planet Earth.

During the preliminary stages of her project, Miranda originally began researching geodiversity across the landscape, until she became intrigued with seven hidden springs located across the Valley that are known for their petrification qualities; the process by which organic matter exposed to minerals over a prolonged period is turned into a stony substance.

With an inherent passion for taking on climate change, Miranda is using her project, ‘A Capsule of Deep Time’, as a platform to better protect the springs, using three critical phases between the years 2025 to 2525 as a measurement of ecological change.

Bird tower exterior














Having originally begun researching an enormous stretch of territory to spark inspiration for her project, it was not until Miranda visited the site that she stumbled across an old mapping group for the Derwent Valley who mentioned the petrified springs.

She said: “I met with the leader from that group in Newcastle who informed me about this group. He invited me to a session, and it consisted of locals who want to learn more about where they live. They have created an illustrator file with timestamps from hundreds of years prior to 2022 with the goal of accurately mapping the entire landscape. A great deal of inspiration arose from my time spent with those people.”

After engaging with locals who endeavour to preserve and better understand their natural environment, Miranda soon began adding the looming subject of climate change to her thinking.

Miranda said: “The springs are cryptic in nature, unknown and currently unprotected. I asked the question ‘How can we protect such an asset when they are unheard of to so many?’”.

“The main goal of ‘A Capsule of Deep Time’ is to highlight those wonderful natural assets such as petrifying springs while asking people to think critically about their role in the climate battle.”

“My project has been created to long outlive people and essentially acts as a call to action that something urgent needs to be done before it is too late.”

As an architecture student who enjoys model making, Miranda thrives off running with an abstract idea and pushing her thinking beyond regular parameters. She enjoys the creative freedom of working with sketches, drawings and paintings, yet it is her eye for 3D form making where Miranda can experiment with different textures, fabrics, and materials to create technical designs.

Bird Tower














Themes of renewable energy and sustainability are interwoven throughout Miranda’s display and have proved pivotal from the outset of her project. The shells of the structures evident in phase two of Miranda’s concept have been coated in Protocells; a substance made from oil droplets that allow pollutants such as Carbon Dioxide (CO2) to be absorbed from water sources and contained within the fabric of the buildings.

Dr Lesley McIntyre, Studio Lead, said: “Our M.Arch. programme combines flexibility with rigour and fosters diversity of choice, interpretation, and approach. Each of this graduating year leave as self-directed, critical, and reflective practitioners.”

“Miranda has thrived in the studio ‘This Enduring Landscape: Hopeful Futures in Flux’ and has engaged in a full range of architectural, geological, and artistic practices in generating her architecture.”

“Motivated to create an architecture for a ‘hopeful future’, a contribution to knowledge is evidenced in the mapping of the springs and ideas of architecture. Her design process is highly sophisticated and evidences the synthesis of research and readings of site, chronology, and the climate crisis. The result is an exciting, yet terrifying, architecture for the future.”

She is a modern architect who sympathetically incorporates the natural landscape into her critical thinking to conjure imaginative solutions fit for a greener future.

Find out more about Northumbria’s MArch Architecture course.

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