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AIA UK Student Design Charrette 2023

We are back again at this year's AIA UK Student Design Charrette. This time in Covent Garden, courtesy of the offices and gallery of KPF.

The site was Floral Court - a compact urban courtyard and part of the KPF masterplan for Covent Garden over the years. The brief this year was to respond to the theme of 'Urban Garden'.

We were assigned to a team from the University of Westminster. Just so happened to be all guys, which was a first for us.

Walking to and within the site, we were reminded of the many small secret-like urban spaces which contribute to London's character. But one has to be careful here, as there is a tough balancing act to achieve. On the one hand, one wants these spaces to be safe. But on the other hand, it would be a shame if the answer to that was to make it exclusive.

Our proposal was entitled "Gardens of the World". Our aim was to make the site inclusive and accessible in the broadest sense. Being the multi-cultural city that London is, it felt fitting to have a little bit from everywhere in this pocket space. As many people do not have the ability to experience the different gardens of the world (not to mention all the carbon miles required) we would instead be bringing the world here.

A field of hollow pillars was proposed with varying diameter widths - some only a foot wide, others up to 3 meters (the maximum width of the entry passages). Within each pillar would be gardens from every corner of the world - desert gardens, tropical gardens, temperate gardens, rock gardens, ice gardens, etc. The pillars would be movable on wheels and scattered through the site - to occupy the inner courtyard space, the passages leading to the courtyard, and even spilling onto the streets outside - effectively teasing people to come in and see more. Being on wheels, they could also be moved to tour other locations such as local schools.

A big congrats to all the students and thank you to the mentors and organisers! Read more in the article here.



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