Off and on for the last year, we have been following the progress of a studio at the Architectural Association tasked with this central question: Can extremes of programmatic effectiveness blend with the fragility of human habitat?
Most of the students approached the problem via industrial food production, which when blended into the city can create urban Edens in one extreme or situations reminiscent of the stockyards in Upton Sinclair's The Jungle in another. Intrigued by their investigations, we asked the tutors, Nannette Jackowski and Ricardo de Ostos, the duo behind the spectacular Hanging Cemetery of Baghdad and the newest pamphlet, Untold Stories, for images and any explanatory text. We like four projects in particular, so much so that we've decided to post them individually.
The first of these is a proposal for an airborne vineyard by Soonil Kim.
Inspired by the urban grains especially the railway network from both St. Pancras and King’s Cross Station around the site, the design is a formal continuation of the topography while reinforcing the colonisation of air space by winery branches. The audacious structure, the winery and the vineyard for red wine grapes are connected by a suspended transport network enabling the use of ground space for a public park. With a capacity to produce 10,000 bottles of red wine annually the project re-articulates private and public space blending productive infrastructure with quality areas to Londoners and tourists.
One can certainly imagine such a network built to grow others things, such as vegetables, herbs, fruits, cash crops, commercial flowers and plants, with the winery turned into a farmer's market.
Need more space to grow? Simply extend it. Cities may have a lot of rooftop space for farming, but the negative space above people's heads is exponentially greater.
A tentacled superorganism creeping out rhizomatically to the suburbs and towards sunlight.