Masters Thesis Proposal:
This exemplar mixed-use project demonstrates the opportunity for London of integrating the economy and ecology on above-ground infrastructural developments. At Farringdon Crossrail East and Barbican stations, the site’s valuable heat resources are reused to power a combined market and housing scheme, presenting a new model of environmental and social sustainability.
The proposal is envisioned as a hybridisation of open plan market infrastructure and a self-sustaining, off-grid neighbourhood of bio-climatically enclosed housing, fostering a truly economical and sustainable building typology that is otherwise impossible within the climatic conditions of London. Heat remains the single biggest reason we use energy in our society. We use more energy for heating than for transport or the generation of electricity. The vast majority of our heat is produced by burning fossil fuels and as a result heat is responsible for around a third of the UK’s carbon dioxide emissions.
With energy at the heart of our major cities’ transformation to sustainable, resilient low carbon communities, the delivery of new energy infrastructure will be critical to securing our energy future. It is in this context that the proposal has been envisioned. The design of which is the combination of a series of complex systems of relationships both in a programmatic and functional way and in an experiential, emotive and social way all based around a new form of heat and energy utilisation.
The Housing and Market place are heated by the underground trains of Crossrail and Barbican. This heating combined with the greenhouse effect of the enclosed space is more than adequate to provide the thermal range of 18-13 degrees necessary for comfortable habitation. Any excess heat once passed through the individual housing is expelled into the shared garden spaces. Keeping the entire building a steady 10-15 degrees higher than the outside temperature in winter, and 5 degrees lower than the highest summer temperature.
The market will provide an inspirational, functional, inclusive and enjoyable environment that is safe to construct, use and maintain. It will become a benchmark for a well-designed and environmentally sustainable infrastructure, delivering the best value for money. This will be achieved by: Providing an inclusive, enjoyable and inspirational market environment that is responsive to its local environment and ‘says something about its destination’ in its expression of structure, materiality, and detailing; Providing a safe facility for visitors through its design as a simple and clear volume with penetration of daylight. It will also be safe to construct and maintain in its detailing and selection of materials.
Each individual household is envisioned as a part of a much larger whole, the inputs and outputs of which connecting to a much larger system within the proposal. This type of thinking and design helps to significantly reduce and re-use energy requirements and waste. Utilizing a combination of passive and active energy conserving and generating materials, and employing built environment methodologies, energy positive and zero-carbon homes can be erected rapidly and at a lower construction cost with less waste. The nature of the materials used and ethos within which the Households are designed allows for them to be quickly assembled and disassembled. All brownwater waste is collected and processed on-site, the outputs of which are re-introduced into the overall system. Rainwater is harvested from the large enclosing roof, stored above each household and utilized for toilets and washing. Excess water is filtered down through a series of planting arrangements and then temporarily stored in the evaporative cooling ponds at the ground floor entrances.