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R. T. S. London

Part 2 Project 2003
Van Tran
Guy Ailion
University of Westminster London UK
In Ken Livingstone's plan for London, waste management is only one among many issues addressed. R. T. S. London [Refuse Transport Station London], however, draws on waste as the main thrust of the project. The scheme revives the literary renderings of Dickens’s waste-lined streets of London, coupled with the realities of modern living and the contemporary landscape of London, to generate a waste terminal that progressively grows and envelops the city to dramatically change its context. The narrative of the project and the atmospheric images disguise the project's underlying political agenda. The drawings illustrate distinctive qualities of the immensity of the infrastructure bridging the Thames and its impact on the City of London. These images convey the irony of creating something that can be beautiful from something that was discarded and unsightly. This waste terminal thrives and lives through degradation, effectively what is dead and no longer lives.

Van Tran
Guy Ailion


In the context of Ken Livingstone’s Blairite vision of sleek superstructures designed by even slicker architects, Van Tran’s ‘bridge of trash’ heralds a return to a Dickensian cityscape teeming with blue-collar labourers and industrial machinery, and defined by its repugnances—olfactory, visual, aural, etc. ‘R. T. S. [Refuse Transport Station] London’ is intended as a response to The draft London Plan’s ineffectual proposals for waste. It is indebted to Piranesi, the architecture of quarries, and German ingenuity. By combining domestic and commercial refuse collection and disposal, this final-year Diploma project exposes the city’s mechanical infrastructure and recovers its primary resource, the Thames, from all of its café-culture emasculators.

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2003
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