BARTLETT ENVIRONMENTAL DESIGN PRIZE
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.
2023 'SILVERTOWN BATTERY PARK': CHIA-YI CHOUView
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.
2022 ‘POST-INDUSTRIAL EPHEMERA’: PAUL BROOKEView
Titled ‘Post-Industrial Ephemera’, this project identifies and responds to the resultant material, infrastructural, social, and ecological condition of the UK’s post-industrial wastelands – a result of mass industrial decentralisation and offshoring. Developed in parallel with laboratory-based novel biomaterial innovation, the project employs data-driven design processes to propose a symbiotic post-waste architecture which offers a reinterpretation of highly toxic sprawling infrastructural wastelands as sites of rich material opportunity.
Woven into the abandoned Redcar Steelworks brownfield site within the UK’s Industrial North, and responding to a site which, at the hands of industrially driven sea level rise, is continually contested between toxic land and polluted water, Post-Industrial Ephemera utilises live environmental data-streams alongside digital studies into reparative bacterial growth and spread, to create an architecture which algorithmically swarms the vast material wasteland, searching for useful waste materials from which to generate itself through new post-waste biomaterials, allowing the network to continue to feed its growth whilst healing the polluted landscape.
A novel biomaterial production hub and centre of local industrial heritage, the masterplan offers a cyclical approach to post-industrial architectural carbon negativity through the development and deployment of bacterial post-waste composite biomaterials, which are directly born from the site. These materials, a symbiosis between site-specific material aggregate waste from the demolition and decay of the once iconic infrastructural landscape, and the eutrophic algae-rich waters which are the product of the toxic industrial output and metallic disintegration on the site, aim to bioremediate the post-industrial biome by locking vast amounts of carbon and toxic pollutants within the 3D printed building skin.
Through orchestrated decay and regeneration, the biomass waste product from this material process enters a cyclical ecology, contributing to the further growth of the network, allowing the architecture to be constantly growing, breathing and evolving, continually responding to the site’s environmental toxicity.
The full video portfolio can be viewed here.
The final thesis document can be viewed here.
2021 'THE 4TH EPOCH - REINHABITING DESOLATE LANDSCAPES': JACK SPENCEView
The project highlights the significant climate threats facing the UK's coastlines and considers a potential response by reinhabiting the historic Hurst Castle, Hampshire, and proposing an associated gamified landscape. Hurst Castle has evolved over the last five centuries and is now situated at the forefront of a climatic invasion relating to an increase in extreme weather events and anticipated sea level rises.
The proposal reinvigorates the castle by reinhabitating it with a research outpost and public amenity, and physically augmenting it to fortify against current and anticipated climate threats. Digital inhabitation of the surrounding gamified landscape gives 'virtual researchers' from the area and around the world immersive engagement with the vulnerable coastline. This benefits the castle's future integrity through an extended community engagement and interaction process. Utilising a defensive module system driven by local community desires, virtual interventions are realised on the landscape in due course through on-site fabrication. The proposal is intended to achieve reinhabitation and reinvigoration of the site over an extended lifespan with minimal impacts, so sustainable approaches for design and function within the dynamic landscape are required. Hurst Spit shingle is used to form the sea defence module system and hydroelectricity is generated by harnessing the strong tidal currents that pass the spit.
The UK's coastal management scheme may be seen as inadequate for the current increased severity in weather events and future challenges including anticipated sea level rises. This is indicated at Hurst Castle, where insufficient protection led to portions of the castle wall collapsing in early 2021. Hurst Castle is a Device Fort, and there are many others situated in the Solent which are similarly vulnerable to climate change. Each site is treated as a relic; its architecture preserved in time, when once it evolved, whilst the surrounding landscape remains in flux. Due to regulatory constraints and a lack of funding, opportunities to reinhabit and reinvigorate these sites is severely limited. Design possibilities are typically restricted to conservative defence measures that seek to preserve the forts as they are now. The proposal sets out an alternative model for these types of site, whereby Hurst Castle, continuously occupied for 5 centuries, evolves to again become a places of significant activity and home to a thriving community.
2020 'REIMAGINING THE INCOMPIUTO SICILIANO ARCHAEOLOGICAL PARK’: SCOTT (SIQI) CHENView
Sicily’s landscape is dotted with incomplete structures from the 20th century. There are 696 unfinished buildings in Italy that have been identified and documented to date, and around 40% of them are located in Sicily. They are the result of political corruption and planning disasters, while also becoming a cultural symbol for the island.
Inspired by the artist proposal ‘Incompiuto Siciliano Archaeological Park’ by Alterzioni Video in 2008, the 5th year design project by Scott (Siqi) Chen studies nine unfinished structures in Giarre, the town with the greatest concentration of unfinished public buildings in Italy.
The project undertakes a critical review of the chosen incomplete structures, based on their current condition as surveyed, and proposes some potential redevelopment strategies related to building lifecycle considerations. The aim is to use the unfinished buildings as an architectural resource for the benefit of the local community. What is proposed is to complete some buildings or parts of buildings, as some are oversized for current community needs, and to deconstruct or ‘quarry’ (cut into parts) un-needed parts of buildings for use as components and materials for new and remodelled building designs in the town. This will help to deliver much needed community buildings and renewal to the benefit of the local community.
The unfinished buildings are reused to fulfil their original promises of providing community facilities, and their existing unfinished materiality and spatiality are celebrated in the designs to produce some tailored buildings and memorize a unique history of Sicily. The new buildings also have a unique architectural character due to incorporation of reused components and recycled materials from the unfinished buildings. This approach has a broader applicability, whereby buildings to be demolished could instead be deconstructed into components that could be used in local architecture projects with the careful involvement of the design team, with the potential to reduce embodied carbon and generate tailored architecture form and language.
2019 'LOST LANDSCAPES': ANDREW CHARDView
In his 5th year design project, AndrewChard demonstrates how a series of passive dams can save the endangered hydrological systems throughout the Alps.
By the end of the century the majority of Switzerland's glaciers are expected to melt, with their disappearance causing lasting damage to hydrological systems throughout the Alps. Switzerland’s glacial melt water sustains many of Europe's largest rivers during the drier summer months, without them future artificial systems will be needed to maintain this delayed release of water when the glaciers have melted. Lost Landscapes creates a potential framework for glaciated regions throughout Switzerland by designing a new hydrological system for the Rhône valley. With the Rhône glacier being the true source of the Rhône river connecting Switzerland and France, its retreat will have a particularly large impact on the future summer shortfall of water, affecting transport and farming industries.
By intermittently constructing a series of passive dams, the project aims to maintain the existing ecology as the glacier retreats up the valley over the next 100 years, providing a delayed release of water. The implementation of these dams will be sustained alongside the steady growth of Alpine farming communities, expanding into new areas of pasture that will become available due to global warming. These new communities will help to seasonally construct the dams within their alpine transhumance cycles, creating a symbiotic relationship between the dams and the communities that surround them.
The pastures and housing deployed throughout the valley with be supported by a new network of irrigation channels, creating a water resilient farming community, immune to the increasing regular droughts affecting much of Europe. These elements will be quarried into the granite landscapes themselves, once carved by the now retreating glacier, allowing the valley to be reconfigured not only to maintain the hydrological systems of the valley but also to allow people to explore, understand and live within it.
2018 'HYDRO-ENVIRONMENTAL TRANSFORMATION PROJECT IN NIGER': ANNA ANDRONOVAView
How can we help Niger, a country affected by extreme weather conditions, get better access to water? This is the question Anna dedicated her thesis to. Researching the current situation in Niger, she looked at applicable technologies that could support a more sustainable water system for local communities and developed a water system strategy.
In judging the prize, we selected Anna's work because in our view the project, above all others this year, demonstrated the greatest level of ambition, originality, technical innovation and philosophical rigour in the field of environmental design. The work focusses on hydrology in Niger, where there are major challenges around basic access to water and Anna's thesis sets out research on the current situation, looks at applicable technologies that could support a more sustainable water system for locals, and goes on to develop a water system strategy that underlies the design studio project. The design drawings clearly convey how the water strategy is integrated with considerable sophistication into the architectural language and design, and how the resultant architecture might be inhabited.
Climate change is a global challenge produced mainly by developed countries, but, paradoxically, it affects the least developed nations the most. Under extreme weather conditions, African Sahel’s rapidly growing population, living on narrow margins of survival, is facing an emergency, which will trigger one of the largest migrations in history. Climate justice for all nations, introduced by the Paris Agreement, must become a guilt redemption act of the West.
The lush sublime oasis of the Grand Paris on the major human trafficking route aims to empower local communities, whilst discouraging their migration dream to Europe. Regeneration is made possible through the holistic water management approach of harvesting, usage and treatment. Paris urban grid is translated into conservation landscaping strategies. Through time, overtaken by natural forces, this grid dissolves as a metaphor of forgiveness.
Through site climate and hydrology research project challenges (dry spells and flash floods increases, high evaporation levels, topsoil erosion, waterborne diseases, and uranium contamination) as well as opportunities (non-perennial river streams and underground aquifers, CO2 yields increase) were identified. Water management technological overview of harvesting, usage and treatment stages informed possible architectural and landscaping solutions. Estimating population dynamics and their needs further refined the design proposal, whilst cost estimate testified its procurement.
There are definitely possibilities for the integrated hydrological architecture, and they are available at low cost and low tech. The roject is possible to be constructed with local knowledge, workforce and materials.
2017 'AN ARCHITECTURE OF DARKNESS': AMANI RADEEFView
Reimagining a traditional Viking long-house as a contemporary town hall and performance space, Amani Radeef’s fifth-year Masters of Architecture project for UCL Bartlett explores the abilities of light and darkness to mediate and delineate space in a hypothetical Icelandic community building.
“The mysterious site comes alive at night, through unconventional meetings around fire pits,” Radeef explains. “The proposal really engages with the history of the site, with Icelandic traditions of community, and with the ephemeral yet strange qualities of the surrounding landscape and activity of the light.”
Titled ‘An Architecture of Darkness’, Radeef’s project featured a model of the town hall and a photographic and illustrative exhibition of her experimentation with the varying properties of light.
Director of Education and lecturer in Environmental Design at the school, Oliver Wilton, said Radeef’s exploration “demonstrated the greatest level of ambition, originality, technical innovation and philosophical rigour in the field of environmental design” from Master’s graduates in 2017.
2016 'CUTANEOUS TECTONICS': ANDREAS KÖRNERView
Andreas Körner's thesis 'Cutaneous Tectonics' investigates the relationship of inside and outside and how the construction of skins can manipulate and blur this duality.
It discusses the architectural definition of skins as a continuous exchange interface. By blurring the boundary condition of the envelope a third – intermediate - space can be created in the in-between. Furthermore the role of transparency and human perception of openness are discussed, as they are an integral part of the visual and sensorial appreciation of indoor climate. The envelope’s spatial dimensions are extended from a thin threshold to a thick inhabitable zone.
The city of Istanbul is introduced as a given outdoor climate condition and data centre, archive, library and greenhouse are set indoor climate zones. Non-mechanical environmental control techniques, such as natural ventilation, thermal mass and material embedded moisture buffering, are utilised to modulate climate conditions according to thermal comfort demands.
A voluminous boundary, shielding a central core region by shell layers, can construct seasonal chambers with migrating functions and occupation patterns. Computer aided ?uid dynamics tests were conducted by the author to identify principles of air ?ows in cavity spaces. The calculated results, analysing those tested matryoshka envelopes, proof that it is possible to design a system of moulting fabrics and still sustaining required standardised air change rates.
This method, in?ating the sticky envelope and creating puffy cutaneous cavity layers, is illustrated by several conceptual designs. Environmental ?eld conditions are strategically de?ned as climates, rather than functions, are allocated. One particular intuitive design is further optimized and the previously generated knowledge is applied. Both the syntax of allocating climates – hence resulting temporary functions - and the idea of epidermal tectonics show great potential for architectural application and seem feasible within a temperate climate zone.
2015 'CODE OF CONFLICT: BATHING IN LIGHT': GARY EDWARDSView
A future of customising your environment through choreographed robotics seems unimaginable. But Gary Edwards has imagined such a thing. Through the investigation of kinetic architecture, his research softens digital and physical space in the setting of bathing and the bathroom.
His project explores various factors that inspire the planned motion, from the passing of the sun to fleeting desire and individual habits. He resolves that this can all be achieved in architecture using timeline based animation software, where there is no hierarchy between the occupant and architecture.
Through diverse techniques of high speed filming and lidar scanning (the process of laser scanning buildings and rock formations to create a 3D model), both the simulated world and physical world are joined together.
You can view Gary's video on his youtube chanel.
2014 'REDEFINING THE ALPINE SKI EMPIRE': DANIEL LANEView
Daniel Lane’s award-winning project considers the vulnerable future of Swiss ski resorts given the effects of climate change. In an ever-warming world the ski industry has either ventured higher up the mountains or employed artificial snow-making technology that’s neither economically nor environmentally sustainable. Lower-altitude resorts, often situated close to urban centres than their more lofty counterparts, are the most vulnerable.
The project proposes to bring the pistes to Old Bern by creating a seasonally deployable, artificial mountain snowscape over the city. Danny explores the ‘hows and whys’ of various passive and active environmental technologies required to create, sustain and deconstruct the ‘Artificial Cryosphere of Old Bern’. Ideas include:
- dripping water around steel frameworks to create structural towers of ice
- articulated, deployable, super-sized snow-covered canopies to form mountain sides
- manipulating wind flow to enhance snow formation
- giant airship-like balloons that shield the slopes from too much sun, collect rainwater and house Venturi nozzle passive snow cannons
Don’t forget to pack your sunglasses.
Further information can be found at Danny’s blog
2013 'PRE ECOPOESIS MARS YARD': SONILA KADILLARIView
The prospect of maintaining human life on Mars is one of the staples of science fiction. The prospect of turning fiction into (albeit ambitious) reality lies with science, engineering and architecture.
So how might we prepare for that possibility without traveling to Mars? Bring Mars to Earth, of course. Sonila Kadillari’s prize-winning project envisages reproducing parts of the Martian environment here. Her project, designed to be located in Florida, USA is a large, part-open, part-closed facility that simulates conditions such as Martian terrain, light and temperature.
Following her win in the Max Fordham Environmental Design Prize we worked with Sonila to further develop some of the design requirements for a Mars simulator. These included a gravity simulator and a concentrated solar power dish which would be used to create large temperature gradients.
If you are riding the gravity simulator you are subject to gravitational forces 60% less than the earth’s. This is not as liberating as it might seem as motion is restricted to trundling along the side of the cone. Our design concept was adapted from the work of artist, Adam Norton
Further information : http://sourceable.net/engineers-re-create-mars-on-earth/
Read more at Sonila Kadillari 's website