Studio Urban Ecologies
Studio lead: Wai Piu Wong
Louisa Bowles, Hawkins Brown
Sean Bradley, GroundWorks
Jack Gower, Peabody
Nicola Murphy-Evans, CLEVER Cities, GLA
Greg Nordberg, Engineers HRW
Teodor Perfanov, KPT Design Ltd.
Lindsey Weaver, Ian Holt, Lesnes Abbey Woods, LB Bexley
Studio Urban Ecologies looks to do more than be sustainable and believes as architects we need to consider the ways building and cities can be regenerative, and we will engage with the natural world to consider an urbanism that is inspired by and works with the existing ecosystem.
We begin at Lesnes Abbey Woods in an area of ancient woodland. At 88 hectares it covers woodlands and parklands, here the natural regeneration of the woodland can be appreciated alongside the preservation work of its Abbey ruins and fossil beds, Conservation here is considered in terms of the ecological and historical.
Across the B213 road from the Abbey ruins is Thamesmead, a 1960s utopian vision turned into Kubrick’s dystopian future, and today given another chance of reinvention by a housing association working in partnership with a private developer.
Thamesmead was originally planned around canals and lakes as the GLC took radical Swedish planning ideas in the belief that such ‘natural’ water features had a calming affect on residents to reduce crime and vandalism. Peabody hopes to rewild these water features and add to the existing landscape.
We applaud this green intent, but as a studio as we progress through the year, as we engage with the community, we hope to find other and more meaningful ways we can design with the natural world to achieve a balance of stable biodiversity and resource consumption that is both restorative and meaningful to the diverse communities of Abbey Wood and Thamesmead.
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