This week is Subject Futures Week at the University of Northampton. The first lecture that I attended is from Assemble. From their presentation I particularly like their Granby Four Streets project in Liverpool which contributed towards their win of the Turner Prize. Their overall approach to the project is amazing.
“The Granby Four Streets are a cluster of terraced houses in Toxteth, Liverpool that were built around 1900 to house artisan workers. Following the Toxteth riots in 1981, the council acquired many of the houses in the area for demolition and redevelopment. Hundreds of people were moved out the area and houses subsequently fell into disrepair.” (Assemble)
“Local residents consistently fought plans for demolition and battled to save the houses. Over the past 10 years they have cleaned and planted their streets, painted the empty houses, organized a thriving monthly market, founded a Community Land Trust and shown their area in a different light.” (Assemble)
“Assemble worked with the Granby Four Streets CLT and Steinbeck Studios to present a sustainable and incremental vision for the area that builds on the hard work already done by local residents and translates it to the refurbishment of housing, public space and the provision of new work and enterprise opportunities.” (Assemble)
“The approach is characterised by celebrating the value of the area’s architectural and cultural heritage, supporting public involvement and partnership working, offering local training and employment opportunities and nurturing the resourcefulness and DIY spirit that defines the four streets.” (Assemble)
Assembles approach is clearly towards sustainable design which is an important factor in the UK and likely worldwide as the population increases and available land decreases. The aspects of this project that impressed me the most is the fact that Assemble are regenerating an area which otherwise would completely fall into a derelict category. Assemble are also reusing and recycling existing materials from the Granby site as well as developing economical designs using economical yet effective materials.
I like that Assemble are making use of as many of the buildings as possible, for example one of the buildings that cannot be refurbished into a home as it has no roof structure, is going to be turned into a huge garden house like a big greenhouse for the whole of the Granby community. Assembles project is not only about renovating an area falling into disrepair, it is also about bringing a community together giving the project social aspects to it.
I can’t help thinking that if there were more groups like Assemble adopting sustainable and economical design, that not only derelict places, but the villages, towns and cities that we live in would be a much tidier and more friendly places to live with a real sense of community when it comes to making and maintaining a clean, healthy and sustainable environment to live in. Assembles Granby Four Streets project gives people a place where they want to live.
I would really enjoy working for a company that values sustainability in renovating run down areas and making these areas desirable places to live. I like the idea of bringing a community together as they have and I think that this is going to happen more and more and it is part of the key to their success.
I am particularly interested in community projects at the moment, I like the idea of bringing together a community that lives in less desirable neighbourhoods, I am experimenting with the idea of communal flower and tree planting to make the aesthetic of the area better. And communal vegetable and fruit plots where the community grows its own food.
(All pictures are property of Assemble).
(The text in quotations is property of Assemble).