Architects, artists and designers have always drawn inspiration liberally from the natural world. More recently, as pressure mounts on the world’s resources and climate systems, the energy consumption, material usage and carbon emissions of a building are increasingly understood as a part of a life-cycle.
Drawing inspiration from contemporary permaculture growing techniques, we consider how symbiosis, planting cycles, reinvestment of waste materials suggest techniques for collaboration, creating complementary uses of public space. Using timber, recycled aggregates and reinforced earth, we explored how an architectural arrangement might respond to the shifting seasons and the inevitable long-term material decay.
A designed object which supports multiple uses or modes of occupation is one which makes the most of its embodied energy. We explored how overlapping uses create the active and rich public spaces which allow us to live sociably together in cities. Just as one plant can repel pests, provide ground cover or fix nutrients in the soil for its neighbour, one urban activity can set the scene for the next.
Working in collaboration with Global Generation’s Story Garden, and in dialogue with local community groups, we created a flexible set of architectural interventions which, individually, provide planting, rain water harvesting, shelter and seating for the community garden, and came together to create the infrastructure for a communal feast.