Bartlett Environmental Design Prize 2023: 'Silvertown Battery Park' by Chia-Yi Chou

3D drawing software generated, pixellated aerial view of concept city, coloured unrealistically.

Members of the Max Fordham team have been tutoring at UCL Bartlett School of Architecture for many years. We’ve established a great relationship with the University over that time and we formally recognised that relationship in 2013 by sponsoring an award at the annual student Summer Show.

The Max Fordham Environmental Design Prize is given to the 5th-year design project that demonstrates the greatest level of ambition, originality, technical innovation and philosophical rigour in the field of environmental design and sustainability.

The prize consists of £1,000 to help the student cover project-related expenses. In addition, they present their project to our whole practice and receive ideas from our engineers and sustainability consultants to help them further develop the environmental premise of their project.

The winner of Bartlett Environmental Design Prize 2023 is 'Silvertown Battery Park': Chia-Yi Chou. 

Silvertown Battery Park is a novel off-grid energy storage infrastructure. The project imagines Silvertown Quays as a scientific testing ground, portraying every possible and impossible technology that could support the local off-grid energy system. It is inspired by ‘Saloman’s House’, a fictional scientific institute imagined by Francis Bacon in his Utopia novel New Atlantis in 1626, which envisioned a future that lives with the benefits of science and technology.

Located at the centre of an area undergoing large-scale urban regeneration, Silvertown Battery Park responds to the urgent need for an energy system upgrade to support the incoming population as the area is redeveloped. It is an innovative energy infrastructure and a vibrant public space for local communities. The dockland waterscape and the site are turned into a solar panel blanket that captures solar energy, and the five battery landscapes store the energy helping to balance supply and demand, vital for transforming from fossil fuel to renewable energy. Instead of chemical batteries, each battery landscape employs natural material as a renewable energy storage medium. The performative landscapes demonstrate energy storage technologies as a science spectacle and transform them into public space.

The techno-parkscape demonstrates bold and trivial science imagination in a playful and immersive way. As an operating dock and industrial centre, Silvertown was once full of the hustle and bustle of machines and workers. Silvertown Battery Park is a working green infrastructure that celebrates industrial history with the energetic landscape's dynamic, movement, experience and atmosphere and brings Silvertown into the next green transformation.

3D drawing software generated, pixellated aerial view of concept city, coloured unrealistically.

This project proposed a testing bed of innovative technology - renewable energy storage at Silvertown Quays. The testing bed is a demonstrational landscape, as well as an off-grid renewable energy system. To rejuvenate this area and connect to the local community, the infrastructure creates vital community space, shaping a vibrant town centre for Silvertown.

©Chia-Yi Chou

Person's hand above geometric, abstract line drawing, mainly white lines on black background.

Inspired by ‘Saloman’s House', the research project starts by envisioning layers of technology landscapes, combining energy storage technologies with artificial landscapes and representing energy circulation that is stored in renewable natural mediums.

©Chia-Yi Chou

Aerial colour photo of a large construction site by the river Thames.

Silvertown Battery Park with its urban context. The derelict brownfield site is transformed into a public-facing energy infrastructure.

©Chia-Yi Chou

14 small, 3d digitally drawn details of construction sites, and two photos of real construction sites marked up with 3D drawn elements.

A set of toolkit architectures spread in the park to assist the working process of capturing and storing energy, demonstrating the operational status of the site. For example, the energy cloud floats up and down in response to the charging and discharging of the battery. Energy trees open and glow when surplus energy leaks and ammeters rotate when electric currents pass.

©Chia-Yi Chou

3D drawing software generated, pixellated aerial view of concept town, coloured unrealistically.

Five performative battery landscapes are demonstrated in the park. Each of them employs natural material as a renewable medium for energy storage. The technologies are demonstrated as spectacles, as well as serving as community facilities. The hydropower pool employs pumped hydro storage to store energy in water. It demonstrates two scales of pumped-hydro storage and serves as a pool and a water garden. The technology is demonstrated through the changing water level and a sensational waterfall scene in the

©Chia-Yi Chou