Bethnal Green Biofuel Kitchen

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Short description

Local production of food, electricity, and material through the use of microbial technologies.


The architectural proposal is to re-localise production – that of food, electricity, and material – on site through the use of microbial technologies. Applying fermenting and distillation process in a novel cyclical self-supporting way.

The modern food supply chain has been taken over in vast majority by supermarkets, vertical integration deals have monopolised the journey of the food from growth to mouth, operating on a vast scale. As urban dwellers our relationship with food sources is wildly disconnected. The purpose of this mixed-use development is to recapture responsibility of feeding ourselves from corporations by establishing value in locally produced goods, due to the cost of space this requires the use of high-density production technologies. When designed in the context of an inner-city site in London, three main architectural constructions are the result, with connected but distinct functions:

a) A vertical aeroponic surface, growing potatoes.

b) Accommodation units, integrated with the existing buildings, and cladded with my experimental material, bacterial cellulose.

c) Biofuel/bacterial cellulose production tanks and drying tower – incorporating kitchens, a public experience and selling outlets.

Qualitative Analysis

Description of the Process

Aeroponic-grown potato biobutanol will power the kitchen space, and specialist microbes will produce material to clad parts of the buildings. This 'bacterial cellulose' sheet material is fermented from the potatoes, dried in the chimney heat, and used to clad the frames of the accommodation units. It ends up like a sort of leather, with a semi-translucent quality. The natural circulation created in the chimney by the heat of the cooking processes is useful for potato storage, along with its darkness and high humidity. The flow of people encourages community as well as individual experimentation with potato cultivation.

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