London-based artist Will Jennings created the "Folly for London" competition as a satirical form of protest against the controversial Garden Bridge, the Thomas Heatherwick-designed structure that's proposed for London's River Thames. The free-for-all competition sought absurd, egotistic, illogical entries that propose an alternative "but equally ridiculous" design that rivals the current Garden Bridge design.
Over 50 entries from nearly every continent were submitted, and they largely reflected the increasing public disapproval of Bridge. Many participants also expressed similar concerns in their own cities, like the privatization of cities, greenwashing, and lack of design for the public good.
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The judges featured Natalie Bennett (Green Party leader of England and Wales), Owen Hatherley (architecture, politics & culture writer and journalist), and Martin Rowson (political cartoonist and visual journalist for The Guardian).
In the end, overall winner Ben Weir received a framed original artwork by Martin Rowon (shown at the bottom), and two runners-up were selected. Three entries were jointly awarded as the "Greenwash" first-place winners. Honorable Mentions were also announced for "Absurd Transport Infrastructure" and "Priapic Humour".
Have a look at the winning entries.
OVERALL WINNER: "Green Fire of London"
by Ben Weir
Project description: "The Green Fire of London (2015) London’s second great fire, taking the form of an eternal flame dedicated to the spirit of 21st century planning departments and developers. The fire is placed on a huge pier that extends into the river. To ensure the flame is continuously tended, all trees from the existing green spaces across London are chopped down and transported here. The Thames footpath is taken up by cranes and unloading equipment that place the timber onto the fire. The project is fuelled in a completely sustainable green manner however, as timber is a renewable energy source. The removal of green spaces frees up available land that can quickly be snapped up by developers for the construction of more narcissistic phallic towers, helping to crowd the skyline and ruin vistas across the city. These prominent views are also obliterated by the huge billowing cloud of smoke, which contributes as much as possible to greenhouse gas emissions.
RUNNER UP 1: "Floating Tidal Exploded Bus Maze"
by Chris Doray Studio
RUNNER UP 2: Bulb
by Anthropophagic Architecture Anonymous
Project description: "The Bulb’s vision, a building acting as a regeneration accelerator for London The Bulb will solve the London Housing Crisis, with a sustainable short term solution to boost land grabbing and speculation. The Bulb offers to re-house the problematic “London poors” currently evicted from social housing estates across London. The Bulb will liberate more public land currently occupied by social housing estates, in order to attract international developers and accelerate regeneration schemes to maximize profits immediately. A live ground breaking conservation project This generous desire to include the evicted (200 000 residents) is a challenge in term of financial viability if housing standards were to be applied (15m2 per person). Anthropophagic Architecture Anonymous (AAA) are turning this financial challenge into a design opportunity by adapting the neo liberal sharing economy to housing. Each resident will share everything, from the socks to the kitchen (no privacy provided, 3,15m2 average m2 per person).
A 24 hour CCTV coverage will operate to allow experts to assess result, supported by a security firm specialized in riots. A 24 hour live housing exhibition The Bulb is expected to be the first international tourist destination in Europe. An inner infrastructure of CCTV cameras and a series of transparent glass ramps and lifts integrated within the living areas will allow tourists to get an incredible insight into the life of the infamous London’s working class. The Bulb is testing “voyeurism”, opening a new field to tourism and marketing. The 24 hour live housing show will be paired with exhibitions, devoted to social housing estates’s failures and celebrating Thatcher’s heroes (Alice Coleman’s “Utopia on Trial”)."
A working place for the future of London on the move The Bulb is moving! On wheel and tracks rolling back and forth on the Thames, it is a vibrant testimony of the living forces shaping London. At the top of the central tower, the Circle Glass Room will be the Office For Change, as symbol of transparent governance. A 3D regeneration model will be on display along with consultations rooms, viability assessments offices and luxury show flats for investors.
Project description cont'd: "The first high rise in clay, a green building celebrating London’s vernacular craft The Bulb is the first clay high rise, a giant pottery towering at 344m high (higher than the Shard). Its structural system is based on steel columns filled with London’s clay, with a shell of steel, clay and glass cladding, allowing the entire building to be transparent, illustrating in the fabric of the building itself the transparency of regeneration processes at work in London now (with no interest for reflection). The 26 trees removed will be replanted on the top floor, symbolising the future of London : a greener and accelerated regeneration process!
344 m high, 650 000m2 (including 600 000m2 of shared housing, 40 000m2 of display, 10 000m2 of offices), £60 millions budget, 60 millions tons of clay (from Crossrail), 200 000 residents, 4 millions visitors per year, 400% profit per year minimum. The Bulb is a replicable model : a landmark, a brand and a patent to take over the world. The project is supported by the major of London, the GLA and many international renowned developers."
JOINT GREENWASH WINNER: Bifrost Bridge
by Charlie Plumley
Project description: "The Bifrost bridge is a symbol of unity and diversity across the Thames showing how London is a diverse place. The rainbow colours of the bridge are made from recycled glass and have solar panels along the top to provide additional energy back into London’s grid. To cross the bridge, Unicorns will be made available (horns made from recycled materials). People can cross either riding one or in a carriage pulled by a unicorn. Providing a more “green” friendly mode of transport. As this is essential infrastructure and a new form of transport TfL will fund the stable and paddock for the horses on the south bank. It is expected great number of tourists shall want to cross the Bifrost bridge in this unique manner while supporting unity and diversity of London. Adorning the London Borough of Westminster will be the sign ‘Asgard’ the heavenly domain of the Asgardian Gods. While the London Borough of Lambeth shall feature the sign ‘Midgard’ the lowly earthly plain for mortals."
JOINT GREENWASH WINNER: Huge Cake
by Shimokawa Shohei
JOINT GREENWASH WINNER: The Fairy Mushroom
by Anna Pro & Kira Olkhovsky
Project description: "The project includes two buildings – 'Oyster' – the residential compound, and the business center for real business person, called 'The Fairy Mushroom'. Frontal, all-round and top views are given. Knowing that in our post-modern times the image of nature means more than nature itself and remembering that we all are the spirit, not the matter, we decided that it would be more important and ecologically friendly to replace the trees on the riverside with the GIANT RUBBER-POLYSTERYNE MUSHROOM. Despite its complete uselessness, the building thoroughly spoils the view. Otherwise, we believe that placing some giant shrooms (113m, which is higher than Big Ben) in the historical center of city might remind the people of London of the importance of being close to nature. Our scientific group reports, that to live and work inside the giant mushroom would be very healthy and productive for everyone. Another point of the project is that the city of London is in desperate need of fresh and adventurous architectural conceptions. So, we consider it very important to actually build 'The Fairy Mushroom' for all the reasons we listed. We believe that mushrooms bring the key to beauty, grace and ultimate perfection."
The entries will be publicly displayed in a pop-up exhibition at St. John’s Church in Waterloo starting September 24 until October 4. Also, all are invited to the informal opening of the exhibition, which takes place from 4 p.m.- 6 p.m. on September 23.
Check out the Honorable Mention entries in the thumbnails below.
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