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Unknowable Futures: Longevity and Unpredictable Reuse in Southwark

Part 1 Project 2020
Henry Aldridge
University of Cambridge | UK
A project designed to explore adaptive reuse, it combines concerns of physical sustainability and carbon emissions with those of social sustainability. A structure in Southwark is created as an exemplar of this exploration. With no defined programme and with details specifically designed to ensure continued use and physical longevity, it epitomises the principles of ‘long life, loose fit’ architecture.

Of course, the building could be demolished at any moment, but the intention is that one would never need to. In this, structures designed with this philosophy would reduce carbon emissions in reducing the need for construction of entirely new buildings. A new language of sustainability is advocated beyond the often tokenistic gestures of BREEAM certifications, longevity is the way to lower lifetime carbon emissions.

With no fixed programme and all future occupants being unknowable, it is designed to be infinitely appropriated and misunderstood. Varying environmental conditions and scales of space are utilised to allow for a potentially infinite number of programmes, some detailed in the following proposal and some that could never have been imagined.

Henry Aldridge


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