Recycling Surplus Factory examines how the value of urban material can relate to the fabric and lifespan of a building. Deptford Market as a source of the material becomes an integral part of the design, and rooms for processing waste are raised over the market on concrete pillars. Deptford Creek is unique in London for its post-industrial character and tidal waters that result in high flood risks. As such, the perceived value of each service provided in the building is reflected hierarchically in the floor plan. Services with less value are closer to the ground, while high value activities and archives are on the top levels – clear of the high water marks and therefore safe from flooding. This ranges from shredding paper at one level, to collecting documents of high cultural value on the highest floor. Each part of the building has a certain purpose and lifespan and this becomes apparent in relation to the use of different materials – wood has a lifespan of 30-50 years, and concrete 200-400 years. The building is clad in a skin of papercrete tiles produced in the factory itself. This skin undergoes the natural process of peeling and ageing and is constantly being replaced by new, freshly made elements. The concrete pillars and time capsule are symbolically skeletal, and are where the memories of history are stored. The wooden parts of the building are like muscle tissue, containing the activity while the building is ‘alive’. It is envisaged that at some point in the future the building will host an event that will see the time capsule finally opened, revealing the cultural heritage of Deptford.
Mixed media model
School of Architecture
Published by Oxford Brookes University