By Adam Holloway, Lee Tai Jung, Jiaqi Qu, Xin Xie, Xinge Zhu, Material Architecture Lab – Marble Team

Connection to Harringay Warehouse District

Harringay Warehouse District is known for its creative and industrious cultures; inhabited by artists, makers and entrepreneurs. Among other things there is a strong tradition of garment craft and trade. Normally it is costly for garment factories to dispose of the waste materials, but by up-cycling fabric strips into a beautifully marbled building material, this proposal creates a new material language that is unique to the area.

Proposal Outline

The key idea for this proposal is a circular building with flexible uses defined by a series of pivoting doors. The roof over sails on all sides to allow for free-flowing interactions between indoors and outdoors activities. All pivoting doors will feature a unique material made from locally reclaimed fabric and used plastic bags. Collected and sorted from retailers and manufacturers in Harringay area, these composite panels resemble natural marble. Quarried from piles of industrial and domestic waste, these consolidated blocks are hewn to reveal cross sections of distinctive local fabric.
This design explores how waste material and off-cuts from the textile and plastic industries can be up-cycled into beautiful marbled construction materials that reflect a unique character for Harringay Warehouse District, and an antidote to gentrification in the area. Off-cut and waste fabric is collected from local garment factories. These strips are rolled and folded together with plastic bags from the local recycling center and placed in specially crafted moulds. By heating the materials together in a kiln and slicing the resulting block with a band-saw, an immersive and expressive marbling effect is revealed not unlike a mineral or chemical marbling found in some naturally occurring stones. The process is proposed to take place in a series of workshops, with a set of community volunteers collecting and rolling the fabric/ plastic combinations into the moulds. The type of fabric, its shape, its cut as well as the colours used result in different variations of this pattern differential, allowing for an endless series of unique material blocks to be produced that speak of the character of material flow and reuse. Materials that would normally be land-filled or down-cycled can be reconstituted as beautiful ornamental panels that celebrate a connection to a community and place.
The panels are composed in a circular arrangement, set within rotating frames, that will be welded by a local steel manufacturer. The moveable panels control how open the internal space is, enabling a variety of different kinds of activities to take place within the pavilion. A completely open set of panels allows for the open plan of a market or performance space, with a stage at the center. The amount of permeability is controlled by closing one or more of the panels, creating semi-private spaces for meetings or gathering, or completely closing it off from the public for classes and workshops.