Week 7-10

The large advertising billboards within our cities could be redesigned to be occupied behind by greenhouses, affordable apartments and community facilities. This is proposed by Tomiris Kupzhassaprova here, firstly, for the iconic signs on Piccadilly Circus, and secondly for a busy roundabout on the fringe of the City of London.

The light and heat that is being produced anyway by the billboard signs is to be redistributed as a kind of financial subsidy that supports the lifestyle of poorer local residents who have apartments in the spaces behind or who grow edible plants in the new greenhouses. Fragmented signs also provide a more sensuous visual appearance for the billboards, reinvigorating what has become a rather dull aspect of the urban scene.

With New York as her project’s chosen location, Lau explored the spatial possibilities offered by informal street vending, eventually inverting, in her words, the concept of the floating market. Boat-like structures are, instead, routed through the sky via rails, lifts, and crossings bolted onto or otherwise suspended from the fronts of buildings.

As Lau describes it, “verticality links the street and midair” as “inverted boats trade with dangling pockets,” pockets that hold everything from bouquets of cut flowers to morning newspapers, and “plug-in units with hoppers and platforms” skate above the street on wall-mounted tracks.

The economy of street—or river—vendors thus becomes an interconnected maze of vertically stratified carts and platforms, more like transportation systems found in old mines than something on the horizon for contemporary New York City.

It is a story told through models: highly detailed models using things such as cable nail clamps, cardboard silhouettes, coat hangers, tracing paper, and beads.

The preliminary project ‘Redrawing the Blitz’ by Yitao Zhu was built on research into the devastating aerial bombardment of London during the Second World War and its huge influence on the city’s urban development. The project studies and questions the way this important episode in London’s history is remembered in the city, and proposes a set of installations that ‘complete’ the story of ‘incompletion’ brought about by the Blitz.

Following this interest in the drastic changes to London’s urban landscapes, ‘Collaging Euston’ looks at a more contemporary issue.

The High Speed Two (HS2) project, not due to be completed until the 2030s, makes Euston the biggest construction site in Europe, with a vast urban area completely bulldozed and overwritten. It not only generates a considerable amount of building waste, but also erases collective urban memories of the area. The project aims to address both issues by introducing various ways to reuse materials and adapt them through the design of a building crafts college. The site, formerly St. James Gardens, is turned into a material museum and memorial to the destroyed and the disturbed of Euston.

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