Part 1: An interview with 32 Cambridge Streets new ‘DINA’

So to start off this new module with a bang i will first be interviewing a building on 32 Cambridge street in Sheffield city centre, i will also be seeing where the building on 32 Cambridge Street fits in relation to the new Sheffield Retail Quarter Plan. To do this, i will be gathering information from a variety of different but trustworthy sources i.e. newspapers, news updates, books, and the internet. The main information i will need to gather is the history of the building in order to gain precedent, or in other words, a deeper insight into the background of the building. I will firstly carry out primary research which will involve visiting the building myself and taking photos, drawings, and just observing the building and the site it sits on myself, this way i will know the information is true. Secondary research will involve a more strenuous approach involving books, magazines, journals etc. as mentioned earlier.

Image 1. Frontal view of 32 Cambridge street ‘DINA’.

My initial approach to finding information on 32 Cambridge street was first to conduct some primary research for some first hand, reliable information. On arrival to the building the first thing to notice was the new name ‘DINA’ which we later found out to be an abbreviation of ‘Digital Natives’ which could also be seen as a pun on the word ‘Diner’.

Image 2. An extended panoramic view of 32 Cambridge Street to show the buildings surroundings.

We were lucky enough to get to speak to a designer and decorator currently working on the refurbishment of the building called Mr Malcomn Camp, whom was more than happy to show us around the inside of the building and give us some really interesting introductiory information. Malcomn first visited the building which used to be a nightclub named ‘Stardust Bar’ in 1987 as a student, he described the club as a ‘Dive’ meaning it was usually where so called ‘Lager Louts’ would end up as an alternative to clubs such as the Lead-mill and Pop-world. From looking around the interior of the what used to be nightclub it was clear to see why this would be a last resort for club lovers, the juxtaposition of colours was poor and the over all interior design seemed to lack purpose and meaning, in my opinion.

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The above images show what you first see as you walk into the ground floor of DINA, whilst the refurbishment is being carried out the internal uses seem to be multipurpose as we see a large newly carpeted studio, a small children’s’ playing area, a functioning bar and a small restaurant area. It makes sense to use the building for something temporary for a little bit of extra cash to help with the ongoing work, which seems rather severe. I was made aware of just how much work there was to do and how much it would cost when Malcomn mentioned the £30,000 expenditure of electric instalments alone for the building, squatters had also stripped the building of any valuables meaning no assets could be reinvested into the refurbishment of 32 Cambridge Street. It took the Dina venue 2.5 years to get planning permission for the building leaving it to get in a bit of a mess, and for any financial help Malcomn is currently relying on the help of the English Heritage and any other willing funding charities.

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(Above images show the downstairs toilet area and the current interior decoration scheme).

Everything except the new carpet remains a product of the old nightclub, which closed in 2006, it is an ongoing process to decide which elements will stay and which will go. To me, the design seems dated, and if DINA does want to become the new ‘cool spot’ for the majorly student orientated city of sheffield, it will have to adhere to what they want in both looks and purpose.

The effects of leaving the building derelict for years can be seen clearly in the above photos, it is the Dina Venue’s plan to keeps the spinning dance floor (bottom right) and 1810 Georgian listed walls and window features the same, of course with some slight restorations to improve the appearance and safety, all of which requires time, effort and yes… money.


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