Edible Estates regional prototype garden #4, London UK
Fritz Haeg’s Edible Estates project began in 2005 as a scheme to replace American front lawns with edible landscapes. He has adapted this approach for Global Cities by looking at the history of the lawn in England, comparing lawn use in inner city London with that in Los Angeles. Bankside is one of London’s least green areas; the few open spaces it does provide remain heavily polluted by the effects of past industrialisation. The site Haeg chose for his London Edible Estate is just such a place: a triangle of lawn on the junction of Lancaster Street and Webber Street beside Brookwood House, a local council housing block, in Southwark, on the south bank of the Thames.
Haeg and his volunteers worked in collaboration with Bankside Open Spaces Trust and the residents of Brookwood House over the long weekend 25–28 May 2007 to design and plant a garden composed of only edible plants. Vines and beans give height to the garden, while mounded beds separate the plants from the contaminated soil. Haeg invites us to explore our relationship with food production and with our neighbouring urban green spaces. In addition, the Edible Estates Research Station in the Global Cities exhibition provides information for others wanting to create their own edible gardens.
Fritz Haeg (born 1969 USA) established the Fritz Haeg Studio in 1995 in New York City before moving his practice to Los Angeles in 1999. He founded Sundown Schoolhouse in 2006 as an alternative education environment, and is collaborating with venues across America including the Whitney Museum, New York and MOCA, LA.
Architect: Fritz Haeg
Project team: Jacinto Astiazarán, Matthew Au And Heiko Prigge
Support: Bankside Open Spaces Trust and Better Bankside
The Thames Gateway – an area of land stretching 40 miles (60 km) eastwards from East London on both sides of the river Thames – has been designated a national priority for urban regeneration. Mixtacity is a newly-commissioned installation by Nigel Coates which explores the area’s potential to accommodate the complex range of cultures, ethnic ties and lifestyle choices of its future inhabitants. Some 160,000 new homes are planned for the area; what will this mean for the architecture of the city? How will the Gateway appear to up to a million anticipated newcomers?
Coates’ installation takes in the area from Canary Wharf, past the Royal Docks, to Dagenham and Rainham. This is not the entire Gateway zone, but it samples various typical conditions. Like all visions of future architecture, Mixtacity uses the illusionist power of the model, a giant ‘L’ that occupies a corner of Global Cities.
Whereas most planning models have a political and economic determinism, this one is driven by an artistic spirit. Its apparently casual juxtapositions are intended to stimulate individual interpretation; it may suggest the kind of common language the Thames Gateway needs for its long-term success.
Nigel Coates (born 1949 UK) trained at the Architectural Association, where he taught from 1978-88. His practice, Branson Coates Architecture, was set up in 1985, and has completed many projects in Europe, Japan and the UK. His publications include Guide to Ecstacity 2003. He is currently head of the Architecture and Interiors Department at the Royal College of Art, London.
Architect: Nigel Coates
Project team: Tobias Klein, Fernando Rihl, Cory Mateer, Tomas Alonson, collaborating RCA students and staff
Architecture: Alicia Borkowska, Finn Williams, Roberto Bottazzi
Vehicle Design: Florian Seidl
Support: London Thames Gateway Development Corporation
Miniature Lamps: Slamp Spa Roma Cnc
Models: RCA Rapidform
Bus shelter 2015; Be Creative Or Die; ill-Logo. The Architect
You will encounter three sets of street furniture on the upper walkway of the exhibition: a bus shelter, a sign with seating and a lamppost. Artist Nils Norman has borrowed them from Transport for London and the London Borough of Southwark for the period of the exhibition. He has embellished each object with further signage systems through which he presents ecological and environmental information as if it were customised, propagandist advertising. Personally, and rather forcefully, they comment on bad urban planning, architecture and street design, as well as capitalism’s lack of environmental concern.
The direction signage points out fashionable media classifications of people rather than locations. And the posters that adorn the bus shelter do not promote consumer desirables. Instead they publicise impending environmental disasters and propose micro-solutions for living in a flood zone, making your own diesel and combating West Nile Virus. To complement these proposals, Norman has adapted the roof of the bus shelter to host a drought–resistant garden, formed of Agaves and arid plants, an illustration of how the city’s green spaces might look in the future, given the onslaught of climate change.
Nils Norman (born 1966 UK) has exhibited internationally and written for various publications. He collaborates with a range of artists and also lectures in Europe and the US. He completed a major design project for the Roskilde Commune in Denmark in 2005 and is now working on a school playground project for the new Golden Lane Campus in East London. His works Ideal City and Fantasy Piccadilly Line commissioned by Platform for Art are currently installed at Piccadilly Circus station and on Piccadilly line trains.
Artist: Nils Norman
Bus stop kindly lent by Transport for London (London Buses) Trueform, lamppost, sign and seating kindly lent by London Borough of Southwark
The monitors which appear in apparently arbitrary positions throughout the exhibition show a work by Richard Wentworth. The siting of the monitors means that the work can be glimpsed, encountered or closely observed from multiple vantage points. But it is never possible to confirm whether all the identical short videos are running simultaneously. Scrape/Scratch/Dig 2004–7was originally a component of Wentworth’s An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, a collaboration with Artangel in an abandoned warehouse at Kings Cross, London in 2002. The video features several interesting shots of ways in which cities are set out, regulated and marked. The assumed craft skill of a senior cartographer at the A–Z publishers sits up against the physical assurance of the road-marking crew who pace out the public surfaces of the city. While they define and redefine the man-made ground beneath our feet, the sky (the only ‘nature’ in the city says Wentworth) is scoured by vapour trails. At the time of An Area of Outstanding NaturalBeauty the artist remarked ‘the density of this condensation is the quickest way to measure the economy of a city’.
Richard Wentworth (born 1947 Samoa) studied at the RoyalCollege of Art, and taught at GoldsmithsCollege from 1971–87. In 2002 he wasmade Master of the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, OxfordUniversity.
He exhibits widely at institutions including the Serpentine Gallery,the WhitechapelArtGallery and the Hayward Gallery in London; the IsraelMuseum, Jerusalem; the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia;the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; the Museum ModernerKunst Stiftung Ludwig, Vienna; the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville deParis, Paris.
Artist: Richard Wentworth
Image: in 2002 Richard Wentworth worked with Artangel
To produce an area of outstanding natural beauty. An abandoned warehouse, opening directly on to the street behind king’s cross station, was converted to a ‘sports hall’ where visitors and passers-by could spend time playing table tennis. Although the 15 table tennis tables defined the space, numerous maps, games, videos and a panoptical periscope distracted the players. The material proposed that it was possible to grasp the experience of the city by maps and statistics, whereas the audience’s attention was, in fact, seduced and distracted by the variety of stimuli. An area of outstanding natural beauty was open for three months.
Dilemmas in the Evolution of the City
The commission by Rem Koolhaas is shown in a bay off the upper walkway through the Turbine Hall. It is conceived as a public space, surrounded on three sides by high walls which have been fly-posted with powerful and provocative images illustrating ‘dilemmas’ faced by developing cities.
Koolhaas worked on the project with OMA*AMO (Office for Metropolitan Architecture – AMO is the mirror image of OMA), building on
OMA’s extensive body of international urban research. The ‘dilemmas’ are presented as the products of two decades of globalisation and privatisation. The project alerts us to the irony that, at the very moment when the majority of people now live in cities, architects are conducting research into the complexities of current conditions, instead of making proposals for action.
The installation uses London and the UK as a point of comparison with international case studies as disparate as Dubai, Singapore and the town of Seaside in Florida. The intention is to provoke debate about preservation and nostalgia, the rise of leisure-oriented cities, and the growing similarities between the approaches and rhetoric of the public and private sectors. Property marketing material is juxtaposed with materials from urban masterplans and political campaigns; OMA*AMO is asking whether the privatisation and surveillance of ‘public’ spaces is creating exclusive urban environments at exactly the time when British cities have become more ethnically and culturally diverse.
Pritzker prize-winner Rem Koolhaas (born 1944 Netherlands) foundedthe Office for Metropolitan Architecture in 1975 and has been involvedin building and urban planning projects ever since. OMA’s recent projectsinclude Casa da Musica (Porto), Seattle Public Library, and H-project(Seoul). Koolhaas is a Professor in Practice at HarvardGraduateSchool of
Design. His publications include SMLXL and Content
Architect: Rem Koolhaas
Project team: Rem Koolhaas With Jan Knikker, Miranda Iossifidis, Moira Lascelles, Stephan Petermann, Shannon Harvey
Form Informing Urbansim – Parametric Urbanism
Architects Zaha Hadid & Patrik Schumacher have chosen the Thames Gateway as a testing ground in which to evolve new ways of approaching large-scale urban developments. The Thames Gateway is an area stretching eastwards from East London on both banks of the river Thames; it has been hailed as Europe’s largest urban regeneration project. Driven by architectural rather than town-planning concerns, Hadid and Schumacher have used a series of new and powerful digital design techniques to develop an approach to urban regeneration which they call ‘Parametric Urbanism’.
Hadid and Schumacher’s project is underpinned by research into the historic permutations of different building types in London and internationally. This information is presented in illustrated bands along the panels in their installation. They examine four main building types: individual villas, high-rise towers, slab-shaped buildings and city-blocks. These can be thought of as points, lines, planes, and volumes. Four rapid prototype models give examples of how each type might be dispersed in a landscape.
Hadid & Schumacher use advanced computer modelling software to project these four building types over a base map of the Thames Gateway. They have adjusted this model to reflect the area’s current conditions, and used it to speculate on possible forms of future development. They have tested multiple combinations of the different building types, often fusing them to create hybrid structures. The outcome of these experiments is documented in a large-scale image with a range of striking new forms, and an animated sequence which shows the evolution of an intensely urban pattern across the area.
Zaha Hadid (born 1950 Iraq) became the first woman to be awarded thedistinguished Pritzker Prize in 2004. Her built work to date includes thePhaenoScienceCenter in Wolfsburg, Germany 2005. Her current projectsinclude the Aquatic Centre for the London 2012 Olympic Games, the Sheik Zayed Bridge in Abu Dhabi and opera houses in Dubai and China.
Architects: Zaha Hadid & Patrik Schumacher
Project team: Dimitris Akritopoulos, Nick Armitage, Danilo Arsic, Lauren Barclay, Emily Chang, Kristof Crolla, Brian Dale, Dominiki Dadatsi, Eirini Fountoulaki, Kyungeun Kelly Lee, Shiqi Li, Lillie Liu, Theodora Ntatsopoulou, Eleni Pavlidou, Sara Sheikh Akbari, Hala Sheikh, Claus Voigtmann, Harriet Warden, Leo Wu