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King's Cross Aquaculture

Part 1 Project 2008
Benedetta Gargiulo
Architectural Association UK
King's Cross Aquaculture is an urban landscape that playfully explores and re-imagines industrial food production, inviting visitors to examine the complex interrelationships between the private consumption and mass production of fresh fish.

Formed as a sinuous pedestrian network extending along the sides of Regent's Canal, its central structural element is water. Aquaculture is characterized by continuous waterfalls and levelled terraces, which co-exist with the topography of Central London. It is a fish-farm that doubles as an innovative architectural body, providing a network of bridges, multi-level pathways and accessible connections across the riverbanks, while contemporaneously purifying and treating the canal's water. The cultivated fishes are treated, filleted, and packaged on-site for instant consumption or for take away. The visitors participate through the entire industrial process, by crossing the Aqua Bridge, entering in the Aqua Tunnel, glancing at the mackerel or cod production line from the sushi bar or simply by crossing the canal.

Benedetta Gargiulo

Beginning with an analysis of contemporary urban issues, focusing in particular on areas of food consumption, Benedetta Gargiulo skilfully investigated how a fish farm can contribute to the welfare of the King’s Cross area in London. Through a close reading of speed maps and analytical models, and the dynamic interweaving of programme (farm, market and sushi restaurant), technology (fish tanks, conveyor belts) and network infrastructure (closed and open bridges) she explored the transition between work and leisure with a project full of wit and intelligence. Her driving idea of creating a local food farm offered obvious environmental, social and economic benefits while at the same time delivered an exuberant sensory experience for the centre of London. Proposed, as it was, in this age of large suppliers and chain supermarkets, Benedetta’s Aquaculture not only creates a local outlet for fresh food in King’s Cross but also successfully celebrates a diverse and rich urban habitat.

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