Looking to the future: 2060
Predicted environmental changes will begin to reconfigure our urban models and the future of architectural design. We must start to question how these environmental changes, instead of being perceived as threats and restricting our designs, can act as generators to reinvent our urban landscapes: establishing new, adaptable and responsive cities for the future.
A Vulnerable City
London lies on a flood-plain.
The proposal, situated on the Deptford peninsula, responds directly to the predicted rise in sea-levels in London. Not only is it expected that, without huge investment in the reinforcement of the Thames Barrier, the Thames will become far more dominant in terms of scale in the coming decades, but also tides will become more extreme: with high tide levels predicted to rise by up to 80cm in the next 50-80 years.
The predictions for more extreme tidal patterns prompt us to consider the River Thames and its future function within London:
How will our buildings survive in these conditions? How are we able to make the most of this latent energy source? And, more importantly, how can we develop an architecture not only able to cope with these potentially extreme conditions, but also capable of celebrating and enjoying these environmental changes by embracing new ways of living in the future?
The scheme accommodates housing, an algae powered riverbus terminal (one in a network of many across London) and much needed public space in the form of a wetland park.
The housing is tailored towards the increasingly transient lifestyles we lead: providing both permanent and short-term accommodation for locals, business-travellers and tourists in an already saturated urban landscape. Integral to each typology is the exploitation of water/tide/energy to create fog gardens, privacy condensation facades, river swimming, and to power the movement of components to create adaptable ‘experimental’ housing modules.
The crucial interdependent relationship between water management and manipulation at both the macro-scale of the site and the river, and the micro-scale of the domestic landscape became a driver for the project: creating a shifting, hydrodynamic landscape which subtly reflects the processes happening within.
Prof Christine Hawley
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• Entry Date: 09 September 2011
• Last Update: 09 September 2011