29 May 2010

Living in a productive landscape

View to fields

I post a recent project that I proposed together with Matteo Pietrantonio for our final crit this year: the site is a suburban village east from London, Rainham; moving from the wonderful book by Carolyn Steel Hungry City about the relationship between the city of London and food, and from André Viljoen's Continuous Productive Urban Landscapes we started developing our proposal.

 Suburban agriculture, London, 1945, featured in A. Viljoen's "CPUL's"

London Bridge agriculture, 1945, from Viljoen's CPUL's

The project addresses the theme of living in a suburban area, designing a new housing development in a brownfield, mixing row-houses of three different typologies with gardens and allotments, apartment buildings, light-industrial activities and small retail. A reclamation of polluted soil and of the green and water area along the creek is needed.

Urban agriculture could modulate various lifestyles, seen as a hobby, a nice way for retired people to spend their time, a mean of domestic economy, an educational tool, an opportunity for fresh food supply, with an overall attempt towards sustainability: shaks and rain-water-collection are provided for each garden, and by designing a local covered market and a botanical school the project tries to propel a sense of community for the new residential area.

Along the central pedestian “spine”, connecting the school with the market, a rickshaw transportation service is proposed; the nearby industrial area could serve as CHP provider for the new development, and PV panels are located in the residual space between two railway lines and on the rooftops of apartment and public buildings. Interviews with local people were a starting point for the design.


Wax model with and without intervention

If in 1940's urban agriculture was related to dig for victory, nowadays it has more to do with pleasure and hobby, especially in relation to the many retired people who live in Rainham.

Model of Rainham's (sub)urban fabric

Existing situation

General view: solar panels (pink), light-industrial activities (blue), school and market (red)



Section through pedestrian "spine": water collection

"Urban" view: various typologies at ground floor

View to local market
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