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Choreography of the city edge

Part 2 Project 2002
David Mathias
Simon Cretney
University of Edinburgh Edinburgh UK
The chosen site within the city of Ghent, Belgium, occurs at the meeting point of the expanding industrial arm from the port and the historical edges of the medieval city centre. As the port is still seeing rapid growth the choice of programme was informed to help mediate the coming together of the industrial and residential areas on the site.

The flower industry plays an integral part of the city and is currently located just to the east of the site. It was decided to take advantage of the area's links to the canal and road network and create a flower production spine along sections of the canal which other programmes could connect to and interact symbiotically with.

The thin site suggested the vertical arrangement of flower trays which later developed into the proposed hydroponic towers. These feed the production line which leads down towards a public flower market, outside the train station entrance, and relocated Ghent Floralies international exhibition arena.

The captured heat energy from the towers will be fed to the swimmng pool on the opposite side of the canal where it joins a water and sports container spine. These programmes would bring a public counter-part to the mechanical edge of the canal with its industrial storage units and containers.

David Mathias
Simon Cretney

Working on a long, thin dockside site which stretches northward from one of the Gent’s train stations, David, from the outset, used animation techniques as analytical and generative tools. Starting with the mobile devices currently on the site (cranes, barges, hoppers, etc.) he went on to study the architectural consequences of the introduction of light industrial programmes. Most important was a flower growing and processing plant in which the greenhouses were, extraordinarily, stacked vertically. Grounded in considerable primary research, this project uses a difficult site very convincingly to reimagine and extend, formally, organisationally, and urbanistically, a relatively familiar programmatic type.

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