London Met Unit 12 Yearbook: Second Life

This year Unit 12, led by Peter St John, investigated the theme of Second Life, in the context of the design of buildings. Based on the belief that almost everything can have a second life, the project intends to address London's pressing need for more housing and the complex solutions for the shortage of land. The proposals for the reuse and densification of existing post-war housing stock in South London show how this can be a better solution than redevelopment.

The action of reuse in which discarded materials and objects are rearranged for alternative purposes, offers more possibilities for personal and communal involvement in the quality of the dwelling within its specific location. As designers, we were looking at how this very human and personal accumulation of material, and the managing of resources generally, can be given architectural meaning.

Our interest was wider than the theme of Reuse and also addressed the broader question of a Renewal of our approach to construction, how construction can be less energy-demanding, moving towards a future where buildings are indivisible components of a regenerating ecological system. The basic nature of the materials used, and the limited energy required in their transformation, was also critical for the student projects to be an effective alternative to the social and economic forces that have led to our problematic present.

Unit 12 is led by Peter St John together with James Hand, Fabienne Sommer, and Ben Speltz—Associates from Caruso St John's London office.

Images below © Jacob Ashton and Eleanor Caitlin


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