Friday, 30 October 2009
Friday, 16 October 2009
Thursday, 15 October 2009
A competition entry from desitecture collaborator Lee Miles has won a major award from Arup Engineers and Hermes Real Estate.
The competition, known as Hermes RE:Design, was entirely focused upon providing sustainable design interventions for Londons high rise rooftops. The overriding aim was to reduce the carbon contributions that have been predicted to increase gradually as the city grows.
The winning concept was fundamentally very simple and is focused around meeting three key aims:
1) Utilise the large mass of usable flat roof terrace space in London.
2) Limit the skyward growth of taller structures within the city.
3) Ensure all structures have the capability to be fitted/retro-fitted with a design that cut backs emissions.
The design comprises a set of pre-fab parts that can be constructed easily on top of any building, minus the need for any engineering expertise, cranes or heavy plant.
Once fitted the design can evolve and grow accordingly. From a fractal floor plate system arms can be installed that support plant growth and green roofs. Green roofs are incredibly important in slowing the effects of climate change as they cool down the city in what is known as a urban heat island; the heat generated in cities is often retained in the concrete. A green roof effectively cools this. As well as this they also benefit nearby solar panels and encourage biodiversity.
Longer term the design could form part of a new skyline pedestrian transport system, that would further reduce carbon emissions by reducing the number of car trips required to cross the city. The solar panels fitted nearby will also help provide power and energy to the buildings.
The project was selected by Arup and Hermes Real Estate for the award 'Most Imaginative Design' and will be presented before a selected audience at an awards ceremony Nov. 6th.
of Camden by HD Design
+ IDEAs at Ravensbourne
Urban analysis/ context: Gas Holder 8 offers the opportunity to define an important threshold between the new Kings Cross development and the surrounding city both physically and conceptually.
The site is pivotal point on the green link between St.Pancras Old Church, Camley Street nature park and the canal, and the new Home Zone access into the development. The silhouetted framework of the gas holder structure establishes its potential as a key reference point and connector from both within and beyond the site. Gasholder 8 also demands recognition as a pivotal temporal reference point for the development: Connecting an industrial heritage and post industrial re-use with the new realization of a twenty first century urban quarter.
The installation of a vibrant, porous and diverse pubic realm and event based program into this volume will engage local residents, site users and visitors in its new role: As destination, connector, memorial and iconic London landmark.
Forms: Within the gasholder frame we have positioned a 35m diameter raised drum. At the top it is sliced obliquely to retain the silhouette of the original gas-holder frame and maximize the penetration of light into the interior. This form and orientation have been arranged for the whole installation act as an urban scale solar clock, with day-time shadow locations marked onto the auditorium surfaces for reference across the seasons. At its heart is a conical auditorium space, opening up to the sky. The underside of the structure is tilted upwards towards the south, allowing an open and porous relationship with the adjacent canal side area, but protecting the inner spaces from higher level noise and wind.
Structures and Materials: A sense of place is generated through a dynamic dialogue between the architecture of the new King’s Cross development and a romantic notion of nature reclaiming the areas original industrial heritage.
Although the structure of the main enclosure loosely references the encompassing gas holder frame, we have broken it down into dancing thicket of columns interspersed with trees. The skins of the drum are woven from a mix of natural and industrial components to create a basket like object that glows like a lantern at night. Fluidly aligned timbers animate the external elevations, emphasizing a spiraling movement. The internal skin of the drum extends the theatrical narrative with sliding screens that can be reconfigured by occupants to create a constantly changing internal elevation.
‘Shards’ of the original gas cylinder have been integrated into the new structure, spiraling within the drum to define boundaries, frame views and create opportunities for play. We would propose a broader site-wide strategy for similar ‘shards’ to be dispersed within the development’s public spaces, forming way-finding markers, street pavilions, furniture, kiosks and urban sculpture.
Circulation and Amenity: The whole installation is arranged around a set of fully accessible gently ramped environments that take you from canal-side up to the views over the wider area from 12m above.
There is level access from the South, which continues through onto the hard sports surface within the auditorium. One half of the auditorium mounts up to provide seating, stepped access to the venue areas above, and a sizable storage underneath. The other half gently ramps up to the Northern entrance. At the Northern end a clear portal is framed towards Canal Street and an access is orientated towards the adjacent primary school. The access to the areas between the inner cone and outer drum is also situated here. These areas consist of a multilevel environment incorporating play, planting, animal habitats and event.
Vertical Park and Playscape: The Hanging Gardens are accessed via a kiosk and ramp to the West of the North Entrance. The route is flooded in dappled light through its planted walls and is punctuated by trees, climbing walls and play furniture as it rises. From a range of walkways and platforms one can catch, glimpses to levels below, walkways above and vistas into the auditorium and out to the city beyond. The walkways connect to a suspended playground and intimate sheltered platforms and finally to a viewing platform set amongst the rooftop meadows. A climbing wall, formed from the remnants of the gas cylinder sits up against the multilevel park. The climbing wall would be managed by the Jubilee Waterside Centre (a canoe and climbing club within walking distance from the site) as an extension of their existing facilities. Natural surveillance of all spaces is maintained by the proximity of the diverse activities, across a very broad time span that wrap around the drum.
Venue and event facilities: A ramp on East side of the North entrance accesses a venue facility for corporate hire and events. The venue spaces are serviced by a central catering facility and are flexible enough to make one continuous space for the rituals of a wedding reception or subdivided to cater for smaller scale corporate events. Each venue opens out into the central auditorium allowing activity to flow into public space.
The intention is that a commercial enterprise would fit-out and manage the main venue spaces, offering a unique location of terraced areas and hanging gardens overlooking an urban event space. The free standing units could also be used as extended learning facilities for the primary school, evening adult learning spaces, or bookable business meeting spaces during the day.
The underside of the drum could also be fitted with a suspended sliding track and lighting system for temporary public exhibitions by students from the University of the Arts. The flat portion of the auditorium facilitates a small multi-game area and the possibility of a central performance area.
Habitat: The walls of the drum are alive with a habitat for diverse flora and fauna. The ‘Hanging garden’ operates as an extension of the Camley Street nature park. Our strategy for a sustainable habitat has been developed in line with the work of Camden’s Nature Conservation team. Hawks, bats, sparrows and butterflies that currently house themselves at different heights on cities buildings are encouraged to adopt a new habitat. The upper reaches of the drum creates an embassy for the recovery of the house sparrow population, which prefer to live in high density urban locations.
Our approach to planting the vertical park is simple and contextual. Indigenous and resilient climbers are located in planters, increasing in density to the south. A tapestry of different species is selected to provide variety and interest across the seasons. The vertical park could be managed by a satellite office from Camden’s Nature conservation team supported by enthusiastic local green activists, amateur conservationists and local school children.
Mature trees extend up through the sloping internal park, allowing people to experience a tree from trunk to canopy. The orientation of the drum creates sloping strata of wildlife that school groups can ascend as a learning landscape. Webcams integrated into the foliage show flora and fauna at the same height above sea level around the world, interspersed with views inside ‘Big Brother’ bird boxes above and beyond.