This months update is from Dr Jan Kattein, tutor from the UCL Bartlett School of architecture who together with Julia King is leading the 1:1 design course, which is is building so many of the structures for our new Skip Garden.
Move to site
Works to level the new skip garden site were completed two weeks ago. The electrical connection is in and the water mains is also installed. The hoarding to the Broadgate Compound is almost complete. Our site office (a shipping container) arrived 10 days ago and David has been fitting it out, ready for the students to start work on site. Site inductions are completed. Carillion have promised that the footings and drainage will be in by the end of the week and we can then start installing the superstructures.
The Bartlett courtyard where pre-fabrication has been going on since the beginning of the year is beginning to feel rather crammed and we have hired a lorry to bring the first load of building elements to site on Tuesday afternoon.
Sash Window Greenhouse
The sash window greenhouse is the first structure going up on site. The facade, a "low-tech curtain walling system" has been pre-made in 0.5m wide ladder structures. The structure will straddle the shipping container which will be transformed into the skip garden carpentry workshop when the works are complete. HSS have lent us two mobile towers until June without which we would not have been able to get this structure up - thank you HSS.
The earthbag coolstore has been entirely pre-fabricated and part of it was pre-assembled in the Bartlett courtyard. A group of school children helped to fill the first batch of jute bags with soil, ready for installation in-between the stud walling elements. We have been running a number of tests to perfect the irrigation system. The roof is designed to catch rainwater which then filters through irrigation pipes into the earthbags. We have also added a weather station to the design which will be connected to the London Grid for Learning weather station network online and broadcast local weather conditions in Kings Cross. Once the footings are in, the structure will only take around a week to set-up on site.
Rammed Earth Wall
The rammed earth wall will form the northern spine wall of the new polytunnel. It will act as a thermal sink to control temperature fluctuations inside the structure between night and day. Bam Construct have given us 6 tons of London Clay from their excavation near gate 4 - thank you Bam, it's great to be using local clay in our structure. The clay is now drying in the coal drops and if the weather stays bright should be nice and powdery in two weeks time. Rowland Keable atrammedearthconsulting.com has been on site and has been advising us on the material composition for the wall and the procedures that we need to follow. If all goes to plan we won't have to use cement at all in the wall which would obviously be great for environmental reasons. We still need crushed concrete to mix with the clay and if anyone has a few tons going spare, we'd love to have them please. Also, we will need to borrow a cement mixer and would be grateful for any offers.
Thank you to Globe Scaffolding and Rotomead for giving us 1km of scaffold boards each! We are using scaffold boards for the structural wall and roof elements on 4 large structures and will also use them as decking in front of the new classroom and on the roof of the new classroom where the beehives will be sited.
London Festival of Architecture
We were invited to submit an application to participate in the London Festival of Architecture. The proposal went out last week, so fingers crossed.
The Bartlett Summer Show
Preparations for the Bartlett degree show are now underway at Hampstead Road. The Bartfest is one of the most important events in the annual architecture calendar and draws some 20,000 visitors from around the globe. Our students have been assigned a prominent space in the show. We are investigating the possibility of installing a live video feed from the skip garden to the exhibition and are thinking of running a shuttle service to bring visitors to Kings Cross - any offers for the provision of mini-bus shuttle services between Hampstead Road and Canal Reach are warmly welcomed - who knows, you may well have a few star architects amongst the passengers in your van. Also, please save the date of the opening on 26/06. Details to follow.