A mixed-use retail and social housing complex centered around agricultural production, distribution and reclamation.
Stephen Ellis & Rose Florian / University of Pennsylvania
A mixed-use retail and social housing complex centered around agricultural production, distribution and reclamation. Located on Shoreditch High Street in London, England. Food is an increasingly important element in the organizing, and sustaining, of urban environments and it is crucial that architecture relate to the social impact of dining, ameliorate harm from waste and enhance the means of food production. Those are some of the key messages derived for this project from reading Carolyn Steel’s book on the long standing relationship between food and the urban condition, Hungry City. Inspired by her research, the project was designed to incorporate its local food networks and become a catalyst for food production, distribution and reclamation, as well as embody our shared connection with consumption.
This proposal is for a mixed-use development in Shoreditch, a historically significant location when it comes to London’s highstreets – traditional centers of commerce and food markets. Today, the area is home to the pop-up market scene in London, where empty lots are transformed into marketplaces catering to a range of crafts, performances, and cultural cuisine. A study of the area revealed many places to get food – markets, shops, restaurants and bars – but very few places to recycle resulting food waste. This influenced the nature of the intervention heavily, and it was decided that Cyclical City would focus on the creating commercial and residential program that enabled a cradle-to-cradle model for urban agriculture.
The dominant character of the site is its ability to host a variety of different events, especially pop-up ones. This is also a typical characteristic of London markets and to understand this, and maintain it on-site, a mapping system was developed to document circulation, density of occupation and the temporal fluctuations within the proposed site. To accommodate the new program, a circulation path was designed for the site that was coded with various food-related spaces – growing, eating, and recycling – that appealed to the contrasting functions of Cyclical City. As such, the project has two main components: the lower floors act as a host for retail space and waste recycling facilities while the upper floors comprise of a series of overlapping villas the provide terraces for shared farming and dining.
Growing, eating and recycling of food are common denominators for all life-styles and were used as inspiration for re-imagining the housing typology around shared space designed for shared activities. Furthermore, the complex on the lower floors was envisioned to facilitate the reception of food waste, recycling that material, and redistributing useful resources onsite and throughout the city. The design sees food as a looped system of production, consumption and reclamation and sought to create an architecture that can repair our lost relationship with food.
Stephen Ellis is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania with a Masters in Architecture. Through his academic work, Stephen has developed skills in fabrication, visualization and scripting to better understand new developments happening in art, architecture and design. His main interest is in the engagement of technological tools parallel with contemporary ideas, using projects as research to develop design knowledge. Stephen is currently working at a corporate office in San Francisco but continues his own design research by participating public architecture competitions.
Rose Florian is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania with a Masters in Architecture. She has dedicated her academic career to developing her design skills, which have helped her realize the big disconnect between the academic design world and the conservative architecture offices of her city of San Juan. She is interested in the link between these two realms to promote urban regeneration and economic growth. Rose is currently in the process of pursuing a career in the public government sector in the hopes of bringing a unique approach and passion to the public policy of San Juan.