Urban Ca[r]talyser: A Reconsideration of Value Regimes through Architecture
The project degrows Edinburgh’s Craigleith Retail Park, transforming it into a hub for upcycling low-value materials into architectural components, and a social forum for the community and visitors.
The project degrows Edinburgh’s Craigleith Retail Park, transforming it into a hub for upcycling low-value materials into architectural components. This effectively shifts the site’s focus from a market-driven and car-dominated approach, to one that percolates a philosophy of care, reuse and repair. Hacking the site’s retail infrastructure, the proposal transforms the site into a social hub and forum for the surrounding community and visitors. With interventions including a climbing wall, sports field, running track, performance and event facilities, the proposal reintroduces public space and pedestrians to the site, propagating a more equitable sense of well-being.
Finding value in existing elements on site, the project upcycles 950 shopping carts found on site into ‘gabion-carts,’ utilising their immediate affordances to identify structural, programmatic, environmental and social strategies for the project. These gabion-carts are used to construct transformable structural walls that can be climbed, seated on, played with and used to store goods. The thermal inertia of rubble fill material inspires the invention of a gabion-cart trombe wall-system to passively heat the building. The ability to ‘grow’ the gabion-carts with rubble fill from demolition works weaves an original tectonic system into the material networks of Edinburgh, prototyping the diversion of low-value material streams into architecture, whilst promoting reuse and upcycling as degrowth methodologies.