Forgotten Spaces

Ever since designing and developing ideas for Multileveled Vertical Urban Allotments, my final degree project I have become interested and intrigued by projects that make use of neglected spaces of cities and focus on innovative design solutions that  introduce new ideas to local areas in order to improve life of their residents.

Forgotten Spaces exhibition that was held at Somerset House, London and lasted until today showcased 28 projects that were shortlisted from total of 138 entries. All projects were submitted to the organizer the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) by architects, engineers, students and designers in the spring of 2011.

The exhibition focused on ‘the growing movement that reconsiders our relationship with the build environment’…’We are all stakeholders in the areas where we live, work and play.’

The exhibition introduced number of exciting projects grouped in four categories, PLAY, GROWING, CIVIC and INHABITED SPACES. All project included propose to reclaim places that people would mostly walk by without any notice. Forgotten spaces projects propose alternative ways of regenerating urban spaces and introduce new ideas to the local residents.

Interestingly the exhibition itself was held in Somerset Houses’ own forgotten spaces – the lightwells and coalholes surrounding The Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court and the hidden passage know as the Deadhouse. Projects showcased were for example the Urban Physic Garden designed by Wayward Plants, Parkland Walk Gateway by Henry Williams and Stanton Williams Architects, Social behaviour proposal by Denizen Works.

And finally the winning project ‘(IN) Spires’ by Alex Scott Whitby, Studio AR  proposing to created a series of low rent creative studios nesting within the belfries of the City of London’s Church Spires.

It was great to see exhibition such as Forgotten Spaces which encourages and motivates people to get involved in shaping the city they live in. Let’s hope projects like this will soon be realized in to reality and not just showcased in galleries….

You can see all 138 entries on the Ordnance Survey website here.

There are 4 comments for this article
  1. Tim at 12:24 am

    I cam across this as a feature on the Sustainable Cities Collective and I think you’re onto a great thing!

    I’m continually criticizing urban development for the simple reason that the sales pitch of new developments, with a touch of the rural life close to CBD’s never fails to attract customers. We should be asking ourselves how we’re failing in our urban landscapes. People clearly want to be close to them for the goods and services they provide, but not live in them. The appeal of these new estates give us a clue.

    While I think there are a number of factors at play, two spring to mind in relation to your project. People like the the open spaces which are green. Cities need to feel more organic. This is why I believe urban development must eventually shift in a direction that more closely resembles the ideas you’re putting forth in your project.

    In the review on the Sustainable Cities Collective, the writer questioned the issue of lighting, suggesting that you have no doubt given this some thought. I might offer another suggestion that came to mind.

    A while ago I came upon a video on cheap lighting using bottles filled with water (I can’t find the actual video, or the post in which I saw it, but this one is good enough). I suspect that you could use the same methodology to illuminate these vertical gardens. Another benefit could be in collecting the water from rainwater and treating it via hydroponic methods onsite.

    I’d be happy to feature any posts on such creative / adaptive thinking on my own space (linking back here, of course) if that interests you.

    • Lucie Author at 9:33 am

      Hi Tim, thank you for your post, I love the idea of using the bottles, its such a clever thing to do !!! Would be great if you could feature my project on your site, I’ll be more than happy to link back. Best wishes, Lucie

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