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The Salvaged City

Part 1 Project 2013
Matthew Bloomfield
University of Lincoln, UK
With less than 40 years worth of oil reserves remaining, it is clear that we are facing a difficult transition to a post-oil society. One which will be marred by social, environmental and economic troubles. So far, viable alternatives to oil infrastructure have not materialised and the clock is ticking on finding a replacement.
If we do not modify our reliance on fossil fuels we will be confronted with a situation where transport and logistics break down, spawning civil unrest. Without infrastructure, authority will fail as there is no way of enforcing rule.

This scenario is speculated upon within Nottingham, a typical British city. By the year 2052, with oil stocks long depleted, society has fractured into small communities led by self-interest. With anarchic conditions these communities need to protect themselves as well as meet their needs for food and fuel. While many groups will leave the city to find agrarian lifestyles, some will remain out of stubbornness or opportunism.

The choice of Nottingham Castle as a development site stemmed from its defensive and symbolic location. The brief developed in response to the site, and the needs of the community housed there.

A bio-ethanol plant could sustainably provide fuel for a small population while the crops needed for making the fuel also provide sustenance.

The influences of site and process research were combined with another investigation into a novel called "House of Leaves". This source provided an architectural language based on domestic vernacular architecture. The resulting combination provided recognisable building forms with an industrial capacity.

Once projected onto the site, this language and the requirements of the brief were formulated into a series of structures and interventions. These house the linear production process from the entry of unprocessed crops via canal to the distribution of pure bio-ethanol from the ruins of Nottingham Castle.

The design interacts with the challenging topography of the site. The way that the buildings overcome the difficulties of Castle Rock is symbolic of the struggle of the people in the face of adversity. Necessity remains the mother of invention.

Matthew Bloomfield


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