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Interior Design (MA)

Jiva Riley

As I traversed the ruin, I found myself constantly looking upwards. I was fascinated by the natural roof that formed above the walls, the weaving and layering of branches and sunlight. The power of these upward views and the gravitas of the towering walls sheltered and often dominated by the ivy was another other-worldly experience, an element that I would go on to frame through my research project.

My initial observations became centralised around the various floating fireplaces and chimney cavities within the ruin, manifesting into a spatial exploration of "living within the flue", once a vital part of the inhabitants’ daily lives. I progressed through various iterations, with the design eventually venturing underneath the ruin rather than through it to preserve its ruderal beauty, framing those upward views throughout my intervention and allowing the ongoing decay.

With my initial observations having been centred in heat, smoke, and fire, as well as taking on inspiration from the ornate tiled craftsmanship of those fireplaces, I gravitated towards ceramics as fitting purpose for the future of Nettleham Hall.

Thus, my project became an exploration of the needs of ceramists, the constraints and challenges of subterranean architecture, and the balance between the towering ruin, and its new, stereotomic counterpart. Heavily reliant on hand-drawing as a medium for my iterative design process, my work ventures from metalwork to painting. I believed that the creativity in the delivery of this project should mimic the creativity that would be found within the ceramics workshop. As a practitioner who continuously finds themselves torn between spatial design and fine-art practices, this project bridges the gap between the two.

Self Portrait

My work continues to be a dialogue between the practices of analogue and digital architectural drawing techniques.

This idea that a building wants its story to be told, and only through listening to the building’s history and examining its past can we do it justice, specifically within restoration and renovation projects. Thus, this holistic approach to research holds a strong place within my practice, guiding my research with projects I seek to intervene into. I see structures as extensions of humans, as vessels of lived lives, with each restoration project calling for those layers of time on the walls to be faithfully preserved. I’m interested in exploring how something like the human mind, which ages and warps so irregularly, imprint themselves onto the fabric of their home, a stable entity which -if treated correctly – can stand the test of time, extending the lifetime of the inhabitant’s presence.

Since my Architecture BA I’ve always had an attraction towards the non-digital aspects of architectural design, from model making to using a drawing board. I’ve found that these analogue modes of production captured a certain personality in my work that digital never could.

I aspire to succinctly develop my practice to encompass all these different aspects, exploring these themes of home and fine art methodologies, as well as their applications in areas of reuse and adaptation.

A photoshop rendered section showing the subterranean pottery studio with the ruin towering aboveground.
Pottery Studio Section
A hand-drawn perspective section of the central courtyard
Courtyard Concept
Hand-Drawn section of the three atriums
Long Section of the Three Atriums
Hand-drawn section
Long Section from Entrance (Right) to Gallery (Left)


Ink on Trace / Digital Render


Photo of sectional model made using Lasercut MDF. Shows ruin and intervention.
Sectional Model of Central Atrium
Preliminary research drawings alongside a section of the metal pipe model
A 1:50 model of a Living Room inspired by the archival photographs from Nettleham
Inhabitation around the Fireplace
Metal Pipes fanned out beneath model of the ruin
Flues under the Ruin


Greyboard, Metal, MDF, Spraypaint.


Digital drawing mapping the chimney systems in two spaces within Nettleham.
Floating Fireplaces and Chimney Cavities, Physical and Digital Drawings
Digital Axonometic of Flue System
Connection: Ground to Sky via Chimney


Physical and Digital Drawings
Various photos of a model
A Flying Architecture Model