HORTICULTURE HERITAGE, HYPERBUILD
THE SITE: ROTHERHITHE GASOMETER
Rotherhithe, South west London, is a redeveloped, residential area with a close-knit community of residents. The site is currently under planning with proposals to build a multi-use housing development around the gasometer.
In 2019, the Rotherhithe Gas Holder company opened a temporary Hub to receive resident feedback for the planned development. Lots of feedback was in relation to the heritage of Rotherhithe, with residents requesting the history of the site is maintained and celebrated.
The name ‘Rotherhithe’ derived from the Latin translation of ‘Landing place’, as it was part of the Docklands trade, with raw materials and goods being imported to the site via ships from around the world.
Rotherhithe Warehouse, 1960
The inspiration behind my proposal was to put this heritage request at the forefront of design consideration, and the artefact brings back the plants that grow herbs, fruits, spices and botanicals that were once imported into Rotherhithe.
Taking inspiration from the death of a coral skeleton after bleaching, the artefact is based on a replicated ‘mesh’ aspect of strong and resilliant branching coral.
Taking the resillience of a coral mesh, I have experimented on Grasshopper with different methods of creating the initial design concepts of my artefact. The mesh will act as a supportive shell, with plants integrated throughout.
MESH TO STRUCTURE
The Grasshopper experiments are transformed into various containers based on the concept of Wardian Cases, providing various moisture, light and temperature conditions for each individual plant.
HERITAGE, HORTICULTURE & HYPERBUILDS
Gasometers, also known as gasholders, are a key symbol of British heritage from the industrial era. During this time, the environment was subjected to exposure from factories causing smog, acidic rain and air pollution. This led to an environment that was unsustainable for plant growth; a vital consideration in the Architecture world today.
This project celebrates our scientific movements away from the industrial era through our ability to re-create self-sustaining climates for plants.
The discovery of the Wardian Case- the original terrarium, demonstrates a simple yet powerful ability to re-create its own self-sustaining climate, allowing biodiversity to grow & thrive.
‘Bio’, with the latin meaning ‘organic life’, is becoming increasingly considered through trends such as biophilia, biomimicry and biomorphism. The Biosphere (Earth), must have such trends prioritised at the forefront of design in order to help keep our planet inhabitable. Drawdown: The most comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse global warming, is an intricately researched document on our top 100 most effective methods of reducing and reversing the climate crisis The document covers all issues concerning global warming from family planning/population control to refridgeration, plant-based diets, and organic material usage. Some of the most effective topics have been applied to my proposal are:
• Regenerative farming
• Plant rich diets
• Educating girls
• Solar energy
• Mass organic food production
Drawdown has formed the inspiration for my exploration of Arcologies and Hyperbuildings- the proposal, using the world’s largest demolished gasometer site (550m²) aims to act as a fully self-sustaining multi-functional arcological hyper building, that incorprates public spaces such as horticultural education, plant nurseries & labs that breed native and exotic plants, and informative public exhibitions (Kew Gardens, Eden project & Crossrail roof garden as precedents) along with residential sectors that offer organic food farming inspired by the Wardian Case Terrariums.
Currently, the research has began by looking at regenerative farming, named no. 11 / 100 in Drawdown for ways to help reverse global warming. Brief 2 looks at how regenerative farming and permacultire can be combined with arcologies to create fully self sustaining climates.
Researching Biosphere 2 has shown how self-sustaining climates can be re created, allowing a diverse range of life to grow and thrive. Similar to brief 01 on a much larger scale, such as the researched Eugine Tsui’s Ultima tower, whilst considering waste streams, resources, materials and energy consumption.
Scaling up the existing heritage harvester and creating more features to create a self-sustaining ecosystem with various living, communal, leisure, commercial and biodiverse spaces.