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E-waste: A Living and Working Exchange Facility

Part 1 Project 2014
James Greig
University of Plymouth, UK
This project explores new ways of living and working on the vacant edge of the city. An urban density and micro-economy is created at the threshold between the natural and urban landscape. A permanent community works and lives of site but the interface between public and private is blurred, allowing engagement and exchange with the City of Plymouth. Density and programme is derived from the 6 various occupations would inhabit the site.

The current condition is a juxtaposition and tension that exists between the industrial heritage of the disused railway line and the post-industrial electricity pylon, as the sole present elements of the built environment. Electricity is the fuel of the post-industrial city, and with it comes E-waste, the contemporary exhaust.

One of the occupations the materials researcher, becomes essential in developing a programme that responds to this site condition. The project looks at a different way to respond to the increasing volume of this new type of waste, and introducing the idea of ‘exchange’ as opposed to disposal.

E-waste is the by product of the post-industrial landscape, and becomes an entity with which the city begins to have a relationship with. Place, Materiality, Measurability and physical experience are brought to the fore as a more sustainable alternative to the re-distribution of waste to the developing world.

The proposed exchange module creates monument as a place of gathering and relationship. It marks the threshold at the edge of Plymouth in a system of vertical exchange which responds to a movement away from the geography of the waste disposal site, to the architecture of the exchange facility. Gabion boxes create a permeable facade, and are the primary architectural element of the scheme. They house and create a flexible space or melting pot of the different occupations.

James Greig


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