Post-Industrial Outdoor Learning: The Wellbeing Curriculum

The inspiration for my final proposal came from the re-evaluation of my initial proposal, which was a multi-functional park featuring a botanical garden. Turning the site into a green space would create huge amount of waste, as the current groundwork is approximately one metre thick reinforced concrete. In contrast, I have created a space that fully embraces the post-industrial state of the former abattoir. Whilst this creates much less waste, it also challenges people’s attitude towards urbanisation. We are seemingly prone to favour demolition and building new over renovation or reuse, which is having a detrimental impact to the health of our planet.

My proposition is titled Post-Industrial Outdoor Learning: The Wellbeing Curriculum. With minimal intervention, I have transformed the site into a school trip location for local primary schools. The site is split into zones, which facilitate a variety of activities that encourage children to develop their social, emotional and physical skills, whilst getting the benefits of spending time outside. Inspired by The World Without Us by Alan Weisman, the existing site and landscape will be somewhat post-apocalyptic, allowing nature to ‘reclaim’ the post-industrial environment.  My architectural intervention provides the visiting school groups spaces with to gather, get changed and use the toilet, as well as a small office building for those who run the site.

The only demolition on site is the gutting of the former slaughter hall, which creates a sheltered space to house the ‘Base Camp’ building. My materiality strategy is to use as much recycled material as possible, inspired by Brighton Waste House. Straw bale construction utilises an unwanted by-product, and is biodegradable, meaning that this can be disposed of responsibly when the building is demounted due to the future flooding of the site.