Against the Grain
This thesis is based in Liverpool, specifically in the ward of Kirkdale and Huskisson dock. Kirkdale became our chosen area due to our research revealing it was the most deprived ward of Liverpool, with a population of 17,109, being ripe for a much needed development. Moreover, Kirkdale is closest to new major developments of Liverpool; Liverpool Waters and Ten Streets. These, are designed to redevelop the now disused industrial elements of Liverpool’s abandoned Victorian dock network. Historically, with the expansion of Liverpool’s maritime connections, the industry in and around the docks expanded further and further North which created a strong disconnect between the residential sectors and the waterfront. Liverpool Waters and Ten Streets not only continue the existing trend with a North/South orientated scheme, but also introduce a new divide where the physical barrier of industry is merely replaced with a sociological divide of richer and poorer. From conception we developed our scheme entirely on the basis of creating a East/West grain to reconnect Kirkdale to the waterfront, hence the title Against the Grain. Furthermore, we designed our scheme from basis of the people of Kirkdale, aiming for a self-sustaining community that uses technology and community as drivers but also caters to visitors by various amenities provided and strong connections to the centre of Liverpool.
Due to the large scale of our chosen site we approach the scheme from three different scale. Our initial scale is a masterplan that stretches from Kirkdale to Huskisson dock and includes all the amenities of a small scale community, for example schools, retail, commercial, sports and residential whilst also promoting a self-sustaining model through allotments, beekeeping, waste recycling, water collection and energy production via renewable sources. Our second scale encompass our proposal for Huskisson dock continuing the theme of a self-sustaining community with the proposed uses in service of this overall theme, for example growing facilities and markets. Huskisson dock is therefore transformed into the heart of Kirkdale acting as a town centre with activities to suit. Our third and final scale focuses on one building, on the dock. The building incorporates the overall themes of the entire thesis with education, sustainability, growing techniques and community activities being at the forefront of all design decisions. Kirkdale’s Learning Hub, is a place where locals are educated and trained to the various growing types on the scheme, in order to grow and sell their own produce. Moreover, in the kitchens provided, they learn how to use their yield to cook nutritious meals for their families. Finally, at the centre of the building, and the circulation core, is the growing and water collection tower, a constant reminder of the basic principles that make Kirkdale self-sufficient.
Overall, our thesis challenges the concepts of conventional redevelopment through a scheme that directly responds to its location and the people who inhabit it. Kirkdale is reintroduced to the waterfront and is transformed into a self-sustaining community through means of growing and catering to its needs on the basis of future sustainability. Lastly, it focuses on going Against the Grain by breaking down the existing North/South divide of industry and residential, becoming a template for the remainder of Liverpool’s waterfront to follow suit.