An algae factory, a timber mound and pieces of decommissioned wind turbine blades will be introduced to London’s Exhibition Road, as part of three installations intended to “green” the area.
The new additions to the street – which is home to several of the capital’s biggest museums, like the Science Museum, V&A and Natural History Museum – are the outcomes of a competition organised by the London Festival of Architecture (LFA) and Discover South Kensington.
“Reclaiming space for nature amidst the bustle of the capital”
Earlier this year, the LFA and Discover South Kensington put out a call to creatives, looking for installation ideas which could help support and encourage biodiversity along Exhibition Road.
At the time, the LFA described the initiative as “reclaiming space for nature amidst the bustle of the capital”.
Three designs have since been chosen, with each receiving £20,000 to develop the idea (including a £3,000 design fee). The designer or team behind each idea has also been paired with one of the area’s museums to provide further guidance.
A “wildflower vertical meadow”
Architectural designer, artist and Assemble member Seyi Adelekun and Wayward, a London-based landscape and architecture consultancy have designed the Algae Meadow.
It has been developed in connection with the V&A and is described as a “wildflower vertical meadow”, which connects the South Kensington road with the “depths of the Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park”.
It does this through a hydroponic algae canopy, which uses algae harvested and cultivated from the Serpentine. All of this has been done with help from specialists working at UCL and Imperial College.
The impact of the Algae Meadow, the team says, is to showcase how algae can serve as an “eco-friendly and cost-effective way of enhancing soil”, without degrading the eco-system around it.
“A hive of discovery”
Home Away From Hive is the second installation, developed by London and Valetta-based Mizzi Studio and the Science Museum.
The installation is comprised of an organic, “nest-like” timber lattice, which has been layered with medicinal plants – a reference to the Science Museum’s permanent Medicine: The Wellcome Galleries exhibition.
Aiming to provide “a hive of discovery”, the team invites visitors to walk in and around the structure. As well as providing a space for visitors to sit inside, the installation is also insect friendly.
“Modified and re-purposed” wind turbines
Design and architecture studio Urban Radicals has worked with landscape Adam Harris and the nearby Goethe Institut.
Windflower features a “modified and re-purposed” wind turbine blade, in an attempt to show the scale and “surprising beauty” of the structure.
The “slices” of machinery have been planted alongside wildflowers to attract wild pollinators like bees. It also serves as a pop-up park, according to its designers, and allows visitors to walk through or sit in among the greenery.
The team behind it says Windflower aims to provoke visitors to “rethink how we use our buildings to upcycle components”.