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Woo(e)d City

Part 1 Project 2002
Lina Lahiri
Delziel Cook
Oxford Brookes University Oxford UK
My project is the city: how we see, make and experience it. I attempt to rediscover spaces that are so familiar to us in our own cities that we no longer see them. My project allows you to see the city’s hidden spaces and to uncover it’s forgotten rituals.

I wanted to reinvent the way we look at our cities. As a tool for this I invented a shrub, Beau, that would only live in the forgotten spaces of the urban landscape. The colour and texture of the shrub would reinvent how we perceived these particular spaces.

In the Carbon Exchange licences to emit carbon into the air are traded. Unexpected materials are used to construct it – a combination of live and dead wood. The past, present and future exist simultaneously. Multiple programs are applied and a different way of living is introduced. A piece of the city-land will be developed to a wooden city, Woo[e]d. Living and working together creates density and usage all day long: a different city quarter. It is a sustainable attitude to time.

Vila, is part of the woo[e]d city, it is the hotel of tomorrow. What’s we need most today is time. Each room focuses on a time-consuming everyday ritual that the guest may re-learn while visiting. The common spaces inbetween act as buffer zones where people meet, talk, and maybe learn to live again. The guests escape into a new way of living where we already live.

Lina Lahiri
Delziel Cook

A Carbon Exchange is a regulated international market in permits to emit CO2 into the atmosphere. The Kyoto agreement commits its signatories to creating such a market. Carbon dioxide is the main man-made cause of the greenhouse effect. This market will work much like other financial or stock markets. The idea is that the CO2 market will shrink by agreement at regular intervals. London is the likely centre for such a diminishing market.

Lina chose a large site on the border of the City of London business district. She then argued that the setting for the carbon exchange should be a new urban quarter that embodies the best aspects of dense urban living. So unlike the mono functional City of London, her programme was mixed and changeable.

Half the site is occupied by a cluster of wooden towers. The other half became a densely wooded pocket park. The towers give her scheme a strong typological relationship with financial districts around the world. But here sustainably produced wood is used for structure and cladding instead of steel and glass. This scheme is ambiguous; it’s like a business district, but then it’s not. Similarly the idea of a carbon exchange is driven by global capitalism, but on the other hand it’s very opposed to it.

One of the towers became the ‘Vila In Between’ hotel. In this tower the plans’ hierarchy alters gradually from floor to floor as it twists. Lina’s design asks its inhabitants to be open to adaptation and change.

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