NLA - RandomVoids written proposal - New Ideas for Housing London
RandomVoids uses the potential of inner-town leftover spaces due to infrastructural geometry, compensating the deficits of the surrounding urban infrastructure and improving housing supply within London boundaries.
The potential of the co-evolutionary relationship in the urban context between density and networking (or in other words: utilization and traffic) could initiate a new togetherness between infrastructure and the living environment. The aim should be to free our mind from outdated concepts of the city which strictly separate infrastructure and our living environment, turning our genuine attention to neglected urban areas at the interface between traffic and utilization.
RandomVoids are a kind of coincidental spaces or “shadow city”, which appear near highways, railway lines and elevated roads or pipelines routes.
Including any type of traffic islands, track sections, unused areas under bridges, distance space between living and traffic as well as all not used (or rather bad used) areas surrounding the road, rail and public local traffic. One inner-town left over space results from the intention of separating streets, giving some green to a grey road space or even slowing down the traffic. Frequently they are just remaining areas, which came into being through the connection of several roads of a transport hub and intersections.
Due to the high noise and exhaust emissions, as well as the omnipresent risk of strong and fast traffic it seems to be almost impossible to actively use these areas.
The generic solution proposals offer specific urban, architectural and landscape planning concepts which could be applied to the different but specific RondomVoids in London, reacting to existing urban deficits and finding specifically solutions for them.
In Greater London:
Total 3.2* million m2
6.5* million m2 housing
3.2 million m2 *as commercial area
Considering the specific infrastructural geometry and the existing usage with its urban deficits, the strategic placement of RandomVoids provides the urban integration with its macro- and micro surrounding. With small, medium and large stores and malls, bars, restaurants, nightclubs, cinemas, theatres, gyms, schools, libraries, workshops, parking garages etc. the built base of RandomVoids link the new city block to the direct neighbourhoods and via the big traffic-routes to the rest of London. On the top of this multifunctional base, with mostly large-scale uses, a semi-private park covers the whole site, surrounded by apartment buildings of different shape and high. Despite the large number of apartments, the distribution of constructed areas and the minimum distance between them provides a pleasant distribution of the buildings and a large green area, ensuring the quality of life for those living at the RandomVoids.
SPEED, SCALE AND QUALITY: MODULAR CONSTRUCTION PRINCIPLES
Besides its interesting modularity and significant number of green areas, RandomVoids also offers an efficient, fast and sustainable construction principle.
In the base of each building are placed the parking garages, service provision and commercial areas. The “base” is composed of concrete pavements and columns (01).
The buildings are mainly constructed with prefabricated parts; just the pavements should be adapted for each building. In addition to the variable pavements (03), the structure is sustained by elements of reinforced concrete, all of them modular: the “box” of the main staircases and lifts (02), the sanitary cores (where all the pipes are placed) and secondary stairs (which connect rooms inside the same dwelling / 04). The pavements are placed each 3 floors (10 meters / 03), and serve as base for overlapping the modules (05). The modules placed on and between the pavements are also prefabricated elements. The modules arrive “almost done”: with flooring, tiles, finishing and electrical installations. The advantages of this construction principle are enormous, such as more quality control, saving in maintenance and transport of materials, in addition to the high speed that the buildings can be constructed as a huge puzzle of modular pieces. Due to the selected dimensions, the structural elements as well as the modules of dwellings can be transported on trucks and erected by cranes (06).
MATERIALS AND SUSTAINABILITY
As the structural elements (staircases, cores and pavements) are prefabricated in reinforced concrete, the dwelling modules can also be constructed with reinforced concrete – a convectional, stable and viable alternative.
However, in terms of sustainability, RandomVoids feel challenged to take a fresh look to the way building construction impacts the nature. In this context, RandomVoids also offer a pioneer solution: using certified wood for building the dwelling modules and legitimating the sustainability of the construction. The wood is an ecological construction material and the only one 100% renewable, it is an efficient alternative against the active storage of carbon, responsible for the global warming. Studies show that treated wood provides a quality material, which attends the requirements regarding technical issues, including structural proposes. The massive wood walls can be coated with gypsum plasterboards (drywall) becoming fireproofed. The wood modules present also other advantages such as lightness and material resistance, as well as easy assembly. A sustainable solution in this scale would place RandomVoids and the city of London in the centre of international attention.