Maelys Garreau: Pioneer Landscapes


London is a world city. It is simultaneously expanding and contracting, growing ever-outwards – and upwards – yet on the brink of divorce from the neighbouring continent. The next generation of designers must deliver fresh thinking to tackle issues that range from the scale of the street to global climate change. We asked pioneering graduates from the LSA how they’d adapt London to ensure that it is inclusive of its citizens, integrated with nature and fit for the future.

There is a true lack of spaces with a sense of belonging in London: spaces for expression, adventure and danger (in the good sense) are decidedly lacking. Improving access to and awareness of the natural environment, this project provides learning and care facilities to Camberwell’s marginalised youth.

The centre of the project is housed in a series of town house-style buildings which explore the possibilities of straw bale and cob construction. The buildings are woven into a series of therapeutic landscapes which form an accessible, multi-sensory environment designed to promote well-being, serving as both an open access youth centre and sheltered home.

Situated on the Valmar Trading Estate, this scheme embraces the wilding of former industrial infrastructure such as gas cannisters, beckoning nature into a landscape where it was once rebuffed. In doing so, it fosters environmental awareness by creating new relationships with the outdoors through celebrating the earthy, dirty, dominant forces of nature that are present yet shunned by urban spaces.