After seeing the huge success of NYC's wildly anticipated High Line park, the Mayor of London decided that his city's open spaces could use a little sprucing up as well - so he teamed up with The Landscape Institute and the Garden Museum to launch the Green Infrastructure Ideas Competition. The contest asked designers to re-imagine underused or derelict areas as green public spaces - and the grand prize winner is an underground mushroom farm designed by Fletcher Priest! Called "Pop Down", the farm would be planted in 'mail rail' tunnels which were previously used to allow post office workers to deliver their parcels without having to navigate the crowded street above. Read on to learn more!
The competition was hosted by The Landscape Institute, the Mayor of London and the Garden Museum, and judged by a panel of experts that included the founders of the High Line. Over 170 designs were entered, and we were surprised to learn that, unlike the High Line, which lifts New Yorkers away from the urban hustle and bustle, London chose a winning design that will require some digging.
Fletcher Priest‘s Pop Down mushroom farm could provide a break from hot summer heat while producing something edible. But visitors to the tunnel wouldn’t need a flash light: it would be lit by fiber-optics inside the mail rail in addition to sunlight, which would filter down through sculptural glass mushrooms placed at street level.
The runner-up award wend to Y/N Studio‘s Lido Line, which would revamp a portion of the Regent’s Canal, transforming it into an outdoor lap pool for those who were inspired by this year’s summer Olympics. The retrofitted channel would make it possible to swim the ‘Lido Line’ from Little Venice all the way to Limehouse.
Bridge-It by HTA seeks to unlock inaccessible transport corridors around the existing transport network with green linear parks built over, under and beside railway lines that open up cycling and walking networks.
Barge Walk by Erika Richmond and Peggy Pei-Chi Chi is a design to re-connect people with water via the creation of a linear park, a farm and wetland on floating barges at the edge of Canary Wharf.
Bus Roots by Wynne James makes use of the many empty roof spaces of bus shelters to create raised gardens with sparrow colonies, insect hotels and miniature wildflower meadows. Each bus shelter garden would be looked after by its local community, school or street.
[Re]Structure by Scott Badham and Ian Fisher is a system of biocentric ‘mats’ and ‘sleeves’ that can be layered onto buses, trams and trains to create mobile gardens.
Green Arteries by Bell Phillips Architects, Spacehub and AECOM is a scheme to transform London’s flyovers into productive and beautiful green arteries to reduce the urban heat island effect and traffic noise and encourage biodiversity.