THE GREEN CATHEDRAL AT VAUXHALL
Professor Simon Atkinson
Summer 2014
 

The Green Cathedral is an overarching concept designed to provide a unique urban community center dispersed across the site. The proposal  consists of a network of green buildings and linkages that tie the urban fabric together. It celebrates the rich history of the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens with diaphanous architectural material made for plant interpenetration. 

Vauxhall station is a busy transit node with an unfriendly pedestrian environment and a dangerous street presence. The neighborhood is a composite of disconnected green spaces, undervalued cultural and historical assets, and growing socioeconomic disparity. Current development plans for the Vauxhall area include a number of tall towers adjacent to the Thames, increasing the barriers from the wider borough to the river. Without careful planning, the current architectural barrier formed by the elevated rail may create an even greater divide in the future.

Our goal was to create a landmark urban community by re-envisioning Vauxhall Crossing as a celebrated moment of coming together in the city, generate a green-linked urban fabric, provide equitable economic opportunities, and prioritize the pedestrian. 

My specific portion of the design consisted street redevelopment. A tram was introduced to the site, which reduces  automobile traffic and connects important landmarks throughout the area. Hike and bike trails were introduced and connect dispersed patches of green along the greater scheme of the borough. Architectonic ribbons of bus stops aid in wayfinding, and their program and material changes according to the different parts of the site. This, in addition to architectural strategies of the team, aim to create a vibrant community in this undervalued area of London. 

 

DESIGN TEAM
Transit Ribbons + Streetscapes by Samantha Cigarroa
Landscape Architecture by William Niendorff 
The Crossing by Lauren Mullane
8 Albert Embankment by Jessica King

Vauxhall.jpg

ABOVE: The proposal at the 8 Albert Embankment directly connects into the overall cathedral system, but takes on more subdued characteristics. It is a place to live, reflect, and grow in contrast to the rushed nature of the Vauxhall Station. 

CENTER:  Looking into the architectural history of the city, we decided to concentrate on a particular type of structure. Cathedrals are centers for community gathering, architecturally grand, and are ultimately beautiful structures that bring people together in celebration. This structure begins to create formal shapes along the rail, weaving the ground plane up into the air, and the cathedral reemerges, a verdant structure dispersed along a line supporting towers of green. 

BELOW: Perspective showing the proposal of expansion of streets and the introduction of mass transit. Street renovations include architectonic path structures with material gradients that help with way-finding within the newly defined green district. Wood is shown for small businesses, and concrete for transit areas.

UPPER LEFT: Diagram showing tram paths connecting different landmarks in the region. 

LOWER LEFT: Diagram showing hike and bike trails connecting different parks throughout the region.

UPPER RIGHT: Section and extended street plan through 8 Albert showing street renovations. A tram is placed, and green room for pedestrians is introduced.

MIDDLE RIGHT: A section and extended street plan going through Vauxhall.  The redesign included a safer streetscape by incorporating a median placed between the trams. Trees are added to the sidewalks to encourage walking along this area.

LOWER RIGHT: Section cut and extended plan through Nine Elms, where high rises are to be built. A median is added for a safer streetscape, and a riverside hike and bike trail is incorporated. 

SIte Map

Architectonic path structures use material and gradient to help with way-finding in a newly defined green districts, weaving the sites together. New street typologies mean increasing room for the pedestrian and creating a language of materials to craft clear and navigable routes for different types of traffic.

concrete grass gradient
gradient wood grass.jpg
8 Albert Perspective

Perspective images showing moments in the above plans and sections. The folded structures within the site hold program fitting to the area - such as coffee shops by 8 Albert. Vauxhall Station, a transit heavy zone, holds program such as newspaper vendors. By the green promenade, these folded structures hold flower and popsicle vendors. These small businesses occur in the wooden component. Concrete areas show show transit stops. The material gradient indicates program you are nearing as visitors travel along the ribbons.