By Andy burdon (Fine Balance Architecture)
At the start of the 21st Century, the Human population of the planet is facing an event horizon. Either we change how we relate to the fragile balance of the planets ecosystems. The current population shift away from rural areas to urban centres is predicted to increase with an anticipation that by 2050 more than half the earth population will live in existing cities which must grow or adapt top these new requirements. Urban sprawl uses valuable land and resources, whereas intensifying development in the cities can utilise existing infrastructure and services with minimal impact.
Dublin City, Ireland has an urgent need for an estimated 80,000 housing units based on the latest census information. Utilising the city already is overextended, sprawling nearly 30 miles up and down the East coast. Continued groundscraping growth wastes valuable food, energy and time resources.
A Proposed alternative to this is intensify the city population by developing upwards, over the existing, fully serviced city centres, avoiding commuting, infrastructure and other costs.
We have imagined an adaptation and reuse of an existing defunct warehouse and located in the docklands areas near the River Liffey less than a mile from the centre of Dublin. Most of the buildings are scheduled for demolition, with only selected warehouses retained. The gigantic grain silos, so long a feature of the city’s skyline are to be taken down and replaced with a new ubiquitous “Office Quarter”. Due to the intensive weight loading these buildings were designed to sustain as grain silos, they offer a perfect opportunity for upward development. Building new frames in bonded laminated beams and using cross laminated floor structures, it is possible to create a new frame over the buildings which would allow for a multiplicity of residential use types with voids, double heights, trees planting and aerial gardens cascading down to the waterfront. The lower existing building can be opened up to allow sunlight penetration and provide new multi user adaptable studio spaces suitable for the Hi Tech companies located in this area of the city. The newly perforated building site allows a free flow of public through, up and across enlivening all the spaces and creating a vibrant active and useful intervention into the City as a whole. Through the use of replenish able materials, approximately 120 – 140 new housing units could be created on this derelict site as well as cultural, studio, office and commercials spaces such as cafes, bars and restaurants.
Due to the excellent strength to weight ratio of the laminated beams and trusses, a greater area of usable floor space can be created without the need to underpin or amend the existing foundations. The “super frame” format allows a multiplicity of uses, and stands out in clear contrast to the conserved and protected buildings in accordance with best practice design guidelines.
A new home in an existing city