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Encountering Bow

Part 1 Project 2012
Lucian Grant
University of Westminster, UK
The Brief

Encountering Bow, covered food market and Fareshare depot. This proposal is the response to a brief entitled ‘The Beauty of Mess’ for a Covered Market requiring the architect to adopt a social and political role. It is necessary to embrace mess, flux, transition, and thereby identify conditions in which ‘agency’ can develop.

The Proposal

The aim of introducing a covered market to Bow is to foster activity that generates benefit for the community. Research at Brixton Market reveals the speed at which food markets can establish and how this interaction can bring a multitude of social, political and economic wins to a community. This project recognises that encounter is the bedrock of conversation and exchange that underpins communities.

Encountering Bow provides mobile kiosks, coaching facilities and space for meeting from which the community can prepare, sell, consume and learn about food. To ensure the viability and survival of the project the food market shares it space with a charity that captures food waste and redirects it to meet food poverty. Fareshare was identified as a user that operates at times when the market is closed.

Design Strategy

Design of the market has been driven by the challenge to accommodate the program of these 2 users in the same space whilst also achieving a space to encourage users to pause, sit, eat, interact and experience the unexpected.

An ultra efficient roof typology, employing a reciprocal frame system, has been developed requiring less material to achieve the same span when compared to conventional typologies. This low-technology, can be fabricated by local trades people using non-specialised materials.

An environmental strategy has been rigorously worked through, enabling the building to capture solar heat and use it to enable comfortable use all year round. The building harvests half of the 2.5m litres of water required by the covered market each year.
This is an example of counter design, intended to challenge the role of the architect as an artist in search of the Total Work of Art. It accepts and works within the ‘real world’ environment embracing the possibility of the possible.

Lucian Grant


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