Rosa Ainley, Building 519 | Photo credit Bernard G Mills

Rosa Ainley
Building 519, and other Pfizer Tales


Rosa Ainley is a writer and text-based artist with a background in architecture and photography. Her published work ranges from the short story to nonfiction to journalism and includes edited collections, guide books and spoken word sound installations. She is currently a PhD candidate at the RCA, in the School of Architecture, and is based in Whitstable.

The work focuses on what was the sprawling Pfizer pharmaceutical complex just outside Sandwich. A book, entitled Building 519, and other Pfizer Tales, presents a narrative based around the impenetrable Building 519, coupled with the journey to uncover future remains of its secret garden. The book is accompanied by a short audio piece, constructed from slogans and phrases culled from Ainley’s research materials. The work explores how it might be possible to in some way record the echoes of previous lives of a building to take it through to a possible new incarnation, (re)constructed from people’s memories and stories, real and imagined. Sources include interview material, archives, press cuttings, historical accounts and site documentation (word/image/sound).

The audio work lasts for approx. 7 minutes. Visit at any point during opening times.

Rosa Ainley