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Reciprocal Landscapes

Part 1 Project 2001
Ylva Reddy
London Metropolitan University | UK
Reciprocal Landscapes

In the site next to Beckton Gasworks, traces of contamination from earlier industrial activity remain in the soil. A raised landscape containing greenhouses, tree nurseries, laboratories and water catchment areas, uses a low tech structural system, designed to have little impact on the subsoil, to enable operations for bioremediation and regrowth taking place at different levels. As the decontamination progresses in stages, the raised landscape expands over the site and the clean soil is returned. Once the 20-year process is complete, the cycle is reversed: parts of the raised structure are dismantled, leaving only a core of buildings. Vegetation is then allowed to reoccupy the site.

Initial conceptual devices, look at interdependent spatial relationships: The transformation of reciprocal spaces is translated into a 3D landscape with pliable thickets of sticks and flexible skins which are simultaneously transformed by an independent force. A tidal device is suspended from the banks of the River Thames. Two floats emulate the rise and fall of the tide, the motion of the river downstream and the pattern of artificial light, reflected on the surface of the river.

Ylva Reddy

This student's work focuses on the development of a series of spatial studies informed by rigorous research and imaginative design. 3 projects—A device investigating the flux of the River Thames and its influence on interstitial light spaces, a constructed landscape of inflatable bodies restrained by a forest of flexible poles and finally a ‘real’ reconstructive landscape for a polluted site on the banks of the Thames, make up a comprehensive and intelligent body of work. The student not only creates a language of architectural form and behaviour but also tackles the notion of sustainability in Architecture.

Her major proposal devises a 20-year programme to cleanse the soil from a contaminated site. A lightweight raised platform is gradually erected over the site on which she places a series of shingle-clad laboratories; extendable tree nurseries and glasshouses as well as water-catchment irrigation pools. These ‘buildings’ mimic garden sheds, greenhouses and paddling pools and give the extensive site a domestic scale. The platform, supported by reclaimed telegraph poles has little impact on the soil but provides a new ‘ground’ which, can be occupied both above and below to maximise the area for decontamination. One can imagine this new landscape inhabited by white-coated technicians, an army of gardeners and well-meaning volunteers. Untypically for a student project, she proposes to reverse the development when decontamination is complete—retaining only a core structure and allowing vegetation to reoccupy the site.

She proposes an apparently worthwhile architectural programme with flexibility, wit and invention.

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