When looking at the Meadow Lane Lock, the narrative of the site highlights the intersection between the canal and the River Trent as the focal point. The importance of the intersection is emphasised by its role in history, where the canal and the River Trent had played a pivotal part in the transportation of coal across the country.
The main aspect of this project is to preserve and celebrate the rich history of the site, paying tribute to the canal's origins and its pivotal role in the energy industry. This will be achieved through a museum of energy and research centre, a dedicated space designed to showcase the evolution of energy resources through the lens of the past, present, and future. The museum will explore the evolution of energy resources from multiple perspectives where visitors will gain a deeper understanding of how energy has shaped the course of human history and how it will continue to shape our future.
The "past" element of the museum exhibition commences from the 1790s, mirroring the beginning of Meadow Lane Lock canal, which served as a channel for the transportation of coal. The museum places particular emphasis on the coal industry, given its historical association with the site. Step back in time to experience an immersive journey through a segment of the exhibition that mimics the narrow, dimly lit underground coal mines. This phenomenological experience offers an authentic glimpse into the past and highlights the site's integral connection to the coal industry.
The “present” element in the exhibition aims to inform the visitor of how we have changed our day-to-day use of energy, up until now. This part of the exhibition highlights modern day energy issues and how they are being currently tackled, an example being the emergence of electric cars, which contributes to the reduction of petrol and diesel car usage. Upon concluding the exhibition, visitors are welcome to ascend to the viewing floor above, where the all-glass structure provides a panoramic view of Meadow Lane Lock. From this vantage point, visitors can take in the confluence of the canal and River Trent, as well as the pavilion situated on the opposite side of the canal.
The “future” element is represented through the energy research centre, which aims to craft new knowledge of sustainable energy in order for a better future. While the research centre is not directly part of the exhibition, the pavilion will allow for visitors to interact with sustainable energy resources of the future. Through the pavilion, visitors will have the opportunity to directly experience the work from the research centre, thereby forming a connection with future of energy.
With an emphasis on phenomenology and craftsmanship, the project represents an innovative approach to addressing ongoing concerns regarding energy use and the environment. By incorporating the auditorium and civic spaces, it facilitates the creation of a welcoming and inclusive community, offering visitors a range of opportunities for leisure and education.
Through this communal atmosphere the project seeks to promote sustainable energy practices and raise awareness of current energy issues, inspiring more individuals in Nottingham to take action towards a more sustainable future.