Farming and banqueting in useless buildings: Part Two
As the summer School of Re-construction comes to an end, the participating students walk us through their design for the reconstruction of Vienna’s U4 office building to incorporate an urban farm and banqueting hall. ‘Even though we started our journey with a different building each, we chose to work collectively on the U4 centre in Vienna and use the other buildings as material banks’ the group of international students write. They continue:
‘The spaces we designed create a journey starting in the cooking area. Visitors are welcomed by a multitude of sounds, smells and colours coming from the lively kitchen where people can come together to cook using fruits and vegetables grown on the rooftop urban farm. Multiple kitchen counters create points of gathering, with each counter dedicated to a to a different theme and task (Fruits, vegetables, pasta making, cake making, fermentation…). Using a counter is like visiting the village well, a place to meet, talk and undertake an everyday task. In this part of the project, we integrated a food cooling system, the ZEE Pot, designed by a Moroccan engineer and already in the market, which will make the preservation of food possible in this space, with no need for electricity, just terracotta pots, sand and water.
From the kitchen people can enter a flexible banqueting hall where movable tables and planters are made from panels once used to clad facades and columns. The hall allows for different layouts for multiple occasions. Hanging planters contain herbs are made from metal ceiling boxes helping to bring greenery inside.
The banqueting space is connected to a courtyard with an outdoor kitchen and more sitting spaces. After eating people are invited to follow a corridor and staircase onto the rooftop urban farm where they can enjoy a cup of tea in the tea house. We designed a greenhouse made from reused windows and doors, shading devices for plants from window blinds, planters from pipes and column cladding as well as a viewpoint with a panoramic view over the city where seating has been made from reused tabletops.
To experience the event we were designing for, we held a virtual banquet, between six cites, connected through our screens while cooking and eating together. We started organizing, choosing the meals (starter/main course/dessert and drink), designing an invitation and recipe cards way before the big day. We focused on documenting the process of cooking and eating together “virtually”, through pictures, drawings and a final video.
The School of Reconstruction was an eye-opener for us. We have to say that we didn’t know what to expect at the beginning of the summer school. We agreed on the fact that we were familiar with “architecture” and “food /cooking” but not together or correlated. These two weeks offered us a new vision and perspective of architecture and re-construction, and that’s what we tried to depict in our “Recipe Book”. It gathers our creative reuse ideas and enhances the process of exchange of useless materials and emphasizes the similarity of this process with cooking.’
(Text by Ugne Neveckaite, Soukaïna Lahlou, Natalia Hryszko, and Natasha Hromanchuk)
The Recipe Book for Re-construction can be found here.
For further information see the School of Re-Construction website.
Image: Student’s proposal for an urban farm and banqueting hall integrated into the U4 Centre in Vienna. The drawing shows from which redundant buildings materials have been sourced for use in this proposal. (source: Natalia Hryszko 2021)