Topic: Architecture / Travel
Another installmant of observations and highlights from London, after a brief hiatus--we've been holed up in our busy workshop.
In the docklands of east London are some architectural suprises. The landscape is former-industrial, with some remaining oil tanks, dumps, and emptied wastelands. Popping up all over are expensive new condos, which seem an odd fit. The Richard Rogers-designed Millenium Dome, the world's largest dome, sits on the Thames, a budget blowout temporarily abandoned. The Greenwich Meridian you set your watch to runs across it.
Across the Thames, near the River Lea, is a complex that harks back to the site's industrial past in a more creative way than the repetitive high-rise condos. Devised by Urban Space Management, Container City is literally just that, a mixed use complex built entirely from corrugated steel shipping containers fitted with spray on insulation and inhabited by various artists' studios, workshops, and small offices (zoning restrictions prohibit straight residential use).
Bright colors and unexpected angles make it more interesting than it might be. Intelligent re-use is found in less obvious manners as well: the newest block is built over a rain collection reservoir that pumps water up through the building for services like toilet-flushing. The site is also home to a lighthouse designed in 1863 for Michael Faraday, who used it in his experiments with optics and light projection.
Housing Prototypes: Container City