CONSTRUCTED MICROCLIMATES | London, England | Unit 21 | 2015
The brief of the project suggests to develop a building proposition using the air rights space above Barbican Underground Station as a site and Transport for London Head of Urban Design acting as a client for the project. The site is an active underground station exposed to all weather conditions with only 2 out of 4 platforms in use and three underground lines running through each of them.
The proposal is based on the circulation patterns of commuters recorded during the year and their response to different weather conditions.
A new street level ticket office is proposed to replace the existing with direct access from Long Lane descending straight to platform level. Due to the station’s exposure to weather and the lack of sheltered platform area, commuters’ circulation patterns are directly defined by these conditions due the misuse of platform 3 and 4.
The intervention seeks to elevate the platform level in the form of a stepped landscape profiled to create a new topography on the existing plot. Each platform will be repaved in the form of a stepped landscape in order to increase circulation along their length and connect the gap between the two unused platforms setting the foundations for the development above platform level.
Stored heat from the train will be used to heat the landscape in order to increase circulation along it’s full length. Excess heat produced by London Underground will be stored in underground secondary source sub station with access for maintenance. A forest of columns will fill the platforms and will act as the primary structural elements that will direct circulation in platform level but also support a structure on upper levels.
Lack of shelter sets the ground for a building proposal that will control extreme humidity levels and use the harvested rain water for the production of steam as an ephemeral material to be experienced by the visitors. Steam will be enclosed within two main spaces, a male and a female steam room where each commuter can benefit from steam’s healing effects. The roof of the building will not only act as shelter but it will also be the first point of rain water collection. It’s stepped geometry will allow rain to fall into the gutter and circulate towards the water filtration system. Rain water collected by the stepped geometry of the roof structure ends up into a filtration system of three stages that eventually store water into an underground water reservoir along the unused train tracks. A swimming pool will be located within the boundaries of the water reservoir in its upper level where the users of each steam room will have direct access in order to cool down between their sessions.