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Block For Life: Deptford Trade Centre

Part 1 Project 2004
Jen Kui Choi
Kingston University Kingston-Upon-Thames UK
The third year project is a block development programme, inserting a range of activities into a brownfield site, reviving it from its lowly degenerative state. The site is located in Deptford, sitting adjacent to the axis of St Paul’s Church and where the Laban Centre protrudes its colourful polycarbonate façade. Brick and concrete ruins and refuse currently occupy the site, overshadowed by five storey residential blocks and wrapped closely by low-rise residential units.
Aware of these local conditions, activity happening from the local train station and the bustling market place close to the train station is borrowed and stretched towards the vicinity of the site. The link project (artist accommodation/sculpture park) is that anchor that narrates and disperses the activity to the edges of the site. The auction house is about sensitively stitching the link to the site whilst moulding into the dialogue of the existing block fabric. The auction house takes the new ground protecting only an existing edge that is prominent to a narrow but experiential walkway (Bronze Street) from the main road to the Laban Centre. The passageway recedes into a public, raised garden that captures southern daylight. This new raised garden gives back to the local area a new playground for the children and a place for reflection. The new domestic blocks of the living unit project protects this element and also gives character to Brethen Street and the tension established by the Laban and St Paul’s Church. The Trade Centre project caps the end of the block development programme, attaching a fragment of its body to one of the new housing blocks with its concrete clad façade protruding through to anchor the character of the regenerating open green space. The Trade Centre is about synthesising excess matter – promoting construction methods erected from recycled elements. The current conditions of the site in part inspired the design approach to the building. The building introduces a training

Jen Kui Choi


An high density urban block was proposed which interrupts anonymous urban flows in order to establish spaces of political alegiance between citizens and connections between fragmented urban programmes.

The strength of this work lies in its ability to work at both the scale of a building and the scale of the city. The scheme also used high density as the basis of a critique of the current infatuation with infrastructure and urban process.

The proposal represents an unusually subtle approach to the notion of urban growth; each architectural component designed had the potential to engage in a dialogue with other urban elements and the surrounding topography. The control of the site from this point of view was exceptional as was its range of themes and ideas. The work demonstrates commitment to poetically-prosaic architectural ideas

2004
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