There have been a few field trips undertaken from the office recently. Andy visited Germany with his studio group from The University of Nottingham, Rachel spent a couple of days in Switzerland and we visited the Green Building Store in Huddersfield as research into Passivhaus for a potential new project. Here are a few highlights of the trips:
Evans Vettori are visiting tutors for an undergraduate studio at Nottingham University School of Architecture. In March Andy went with a group of students to Landschaftspark in Duisberg, Germany. Landschaftspark is a former iron works in the Ruhr Valley that, after closing, has been converted into a public park utilising the existing industrial fabric. The former blast furnaces have become viewing platforms and a open air cinema, the gas silo a diving pool, coke stores water pools, climbing walls and adventure playground, the offices an opera house and the turbine shed a space for balls, raves and exhibitions. The students are working on reimagining the post Victorian industrial areas of the Peak District so this was a massive change of scale and hopefully inspirational. Trying the same model of upcycling at a grand scale in the former pits and steelworks of Derbyshire and South Yorkshire would be a fantastic opportunity.
|Former heavy industry and flooded coke store at Landschaftpark, plus a stair at at a former steel works in Essen|
In Switzerland Rachel visited the town of St Gallen, which featured the striking 'city lounge' project - a red carpet thrown over the banking district of the town centre to create outdoor living space.
|St Gallen City Lounge|
The town also features a number of interventions by Santiago Calatrava, including a bus station, emergency services centre with 'blinking eye' solar shading, and a converted monastic wine cellar. The cellar is now a seminar space hidden beneath the public square and entered via a retractable entrance archway.
|Hinging entrance archway leading to converted monastic wine cellar by Santiago Calatrava|
Rachel also visited Lucerne and viewed the historic town centre with timber bridges crossing the river, contrasting against the contemporary KKL Luzerne that dominates the shore of the lake.
|Historic centre and KKL, Lucerne|
Back in the UK we had an afternoon's introduction to Passivhaus at The Green Building Store in Huddersfield. Our visit gave us a good introduction to the Passivhaus approach to building and focussed on a new house project that we are currently working on in Matlock. The project has a tight budget and we are hoping to explore how traditional building techniques and readily available materials could be applied with the Passivhaus approach using the Denby Dale house, constructed by the Green Building Store, as a primary precedent. Next week we are visiting the Nottingham EcoShowcase, hoping to find some more inspiration for the project...