CRAIGLEITH RENATUS PARK
EDINBURGH MATERIAL LIBRARY I
“You won’t understand any of this and without a voice, I’m almost incapable of explaining it to you, but through the metabolisms of many, a new way of existing is possible.”
- Rachel Armstrong, Bittersweet Building
My plan for the future of Craigleith retail park in Edinburgh, is to create an adaptable alternative type of architecture that can change to accommodate any kind of program. Using timber modular panels I have created a tectonic landscape using elements of the existing structure currently on the site. The timber modules can be used to form roof, wall or ground elements and can be removed or added where and when they are needed. I have also modified some of the existing buildings to create a processing building for the materials in the library. During the designing process, one of the driving factors was the idea of degrowth; which aims to break the cycle of industrial production and change the public repressive opinions towards the culture of waste, striving towards circular economic systems of material consumption and a more sustainable future.
Individual components are just as important as the site-wide and city-wide design processes. The processing of each individual component, fully understanding where the materials have come from and how they could possibly be reused creates the foundation for this project.
The lattice floor plates are made up of 5 layers of 200 x 50mm structural timber planks. When constructed they make up triangular floor panels which are hung from the existing steel columns. I chose this timber as it is very common and can be found in existing buildings and on construction sites.
The floor panels reflect that of the roof above, which makes the structure feel light and spacious when inside. The lattice design helps to bring sunlight down from above and allows ventilation from below. It can be hung at different levels and can be removed and altered as needed. Raised platforms can be used for any activity whilst allowing the ground beneath to heal and grow; covering a huge footprint but making little mark on the ground.
CRAIGLEITH QUARRY HISTORY
Craigleith retail park in Edinburgh sits above what used to be the old Craigleith quarry. The site has been through many changes over hundreds of years, starting out as a working quarry and suppling sandstone to build many of Edinburgh’s great buildings. Then the quarry unused was filled with water and stood as a gaping hole in the earth. As the city expanded outwards the quarry was filled in with landfill and eventually a retail park was built on top.
Behind the Sainsbury’s, completely hidden and almost inaccessible lies remnants of the quarry wall which sticks up through the earth at the edge of the site. The site is an overwhelming combination of traffic, noise, people and retail shops. This densely packed, functional consumer hub sits above centuries of rich tectonic history of which the busy consumers are oblivious.
CRAIGLEITH RENATUS PARK & EDINBURGH’S CITY VISION
The Edinburgh development plan shows many different areas of the city which have been marked off with specific functionality planned. The Craigleith retail park has been marked as a commercial centre and there are 5 similar commercial centres spread around the outskirts of the city. To develop this project further in the future I would want material libraries to be set up on all commercial centres around Edinburgh. The different varieties of materials can be separated and spread across all 6 centres including the Craigleith site. This allows a wider continuous flow of reusable and refurbished materials around the city, readily available for commercial, industrial and public use.