A taster selection of what to expect at the RCA show 2012
Selection of Architecture graduate projects at Show RCA 2012
Amanda Callaghan - HOT-el
A towering retreat at Old Street Roundabout harvesting foreign fruits of the world at Global Destinations in London. (2040) London is its own microclimate, pulsating heat, absorbing and releasing water. While the temperature of the UK has risen by 2°C, summer heat waves hit London regularly topping 40°C. Bananas, pineapples and figs are all fruits of England.
Harvesting heat from London’s Urban Heat Island, ‘HOT-el’ will turn waste into luxury. We import 3.5 million tonnes of fruit annually to the UK, 31%of which is the banana. With our growing lust for exotic foods, can we cross-fertilise our desire for an exotic landscape with food production?
Justina Klybaite - BState
London’s Eternal Summer 21
In a culture where we expect all foods to be available at all times of the year, the scheme explores whether the urban heat island effect of the City of London can be used to create a constant summertime. Using the excess heat from financial trading servers to create a tropical holiday destination and fertile growing spaces, the project asks if the ubiquitous office block can grow more than profits.
Pushed away from the countryside by the increasing use of high-crop yields, monoculture and chemicals, bees may find a more suitable environment in cities. ‘BState’ is a new type of tower in which bees are considered as key workers: they sense the environment, support the local ecology and produce food. Located in a vacant former railway site in Shoreditch, the tower is characterised by a continuous, fractal-like façade which provides plenty of niches, gaps and openings for both bees and local residents to colonise and inhabit. The resulting building smells, buzzes, swarms and produces food to celebrate its minuscule inhabitants: bees.
‘At Her Majesty’s Pleasure Gardens’ seeks to redefine the consequential effect of conviction and internment as a social and physical wall within the city, in the face of the prevailing commercialisation of the UK’s prisons. The project assumes that an urban environment characterised by rules and restrictions provokes a counter-desire for thrills, excitement and the exhilaration of spectacle. The urban architecture proposed examines the amalgamation of a prison and a pleasure garden, exploring the relationship of prison inmate and citizen and of hiding away versus being exposed.
‘Where The Wild Things Are’ imagines a new safari park, wilderness and leisure strip as essential social infrastructure linking Deptford in south-east London to Canary Wharf in the Docklands. The strip is a linear void in the city – a mnemonic of the global and natural world around us – a filter through which to see the city in a new light.
Cutting through some of the most opulent and deprived parts of London, the project juxtaposes the sublime and the ridiculous, creating a surrealist, new non-hierarchical territory – a synthetic natural oasis where the strangest thing is the quotidian outside world.
The majority of the public see prison as a ‘Holiday Camp’. With a Conservative government forcing inmates to work a full working week for virtually no pay, a new type of prison will need to be built to facilitate this. ‘HMPark Life’ is a prison located in Brockwell Park, South London. It questions this drive to turn a prison population into a cheap labour force – one that works not just to provide skills to inmates in the name of ‘rehabilitation’ but forces offenders to be both visibly productive and punished to quench the public’s ever- present blood thirst for justice.
Tina Tian Qiu
How will the new bigger body question architectural standards?
From the Caryatid to the sexless Neufert (wo)man, architecture has been based on the idealised human body. Society now sees the bigger body as a taboo subject. Both men and women are under huge pressure to follow the trend of the ‘super waif’. But unlike media perceptions of the ‘beautiful body’, that small is better, the average UK person has been growing from big to bigger. This project embraces the larger body and celebrates it. What emerges is a new aesthetic born of the architecture 33 of indulgence and excess.
Wendy Smith - Black Swans and White Elephants
The London 2012 Olympic bid was won in an economic boom yet executed in a financial bust. As a result, the project draws upon the practice of the insurance industry as a means to investigate the limits of control in a world concerned with future predictions and risk avoidance. Based on real-world statistics and genuine concerns, a fictional insurance ‘policy’ questions the future of the site and asks if it is possible to ensure a successful legacy.
Louis Hall - Good Intentions (A Counterfactual History)
In 1991 Margaret Thatcher opened the largest inner-city ring road in the world, London’s Motorway Box. Thirty years hence, the Heritage Alliance have stamped their authority on planning in the capital (empowered by the destruction of 14,000 would- be listed buildings with the implementation of the road) and become integral to development within the Localism Bill. Set against this backdrop, Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC, one of the motorway-affected boroughs) must rewrite their planning policies in order to attract development on the few remaining sites available to them – generating income no longer awarded by central government.
Building over, under and around the motorway, a new infrastructural architecture emerges that does its ‘very best’ to blend in with its historic surroundings. As was the case with the development of the Motorway Box, the RBKC planners mean well; the inhabitants of Earls Court, however, may not see the necessary development in the same way.
Living in a world dominated by social networking, how will Facebook society preserve its own digital legacy?
In 2022 the boundaries between our real social status and our digital one are blurred. This project sees an opportunity to propose a new hybrid typology of a crematorium along with a digital (Facebook) archive, trying to respond to a growing demand of users that choose to replace the conventional funerals, graves and way of grieving with a digital after-death profile of themselves, which will be immortal.
A bathhouse is conceived as a journey through curated ‘weathers’ beside the River Lea. Conceptualised as a separate reality, in which weather is used to construct an alternative perception of time, the bathhouse is a palace of sensation. The body is explored in relation to systems of thermoregulation, with the scheme tying into existing legacy plans for community sports facilities.
Existing in a range of material states, under varying pressures and temperatures, the project hypothesises water as a ‘living’ architectural material. The scheme takes advantage of Combined Cooling Heating & Power (CCHP) technology in the Olympic Energy Centre to create a thermodynamic system. Using water from the notoriously polluted Lea, the bathhouse uses distillation to cleanse the river.
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