Raise the Roof: Flying Factories
Flying Factories: Rooftop interventions for existing buildings
Repurposing city centre car parks creates new pockets of previously inaccessible space. Moving away from the cities’ requirements for cars, this becomes a precedent for keeping existing building shells: the clean floor and roof plates becoming a playground for creating, domesticating and community. The roof becomes an oasis of air-purifying plants and a manufacturing hub for the duplication of the project: moving first down the structure, then to increasingly redundant car parks and roof spaces throughout the city.
Air pollution is now considered to be a leading cause of death worldwide. Planting interventions on rooftops can help to create healthier cities. With each new intervention, there will be fewer spaces for cars and more green space. Initially mitigating car pollution, each further intervention reduces car use and enhances clean air.
Welbeck Street Car Park has been permitted for demolition. In a time of continual commodification of city centre spaces, a radical approach to urban change is demanded. Our alternative proposal for the site seeks to show that these structures can be kept and repurposed. These newly added interventions would invigorate and revitalise the urban roofscape – reimagining the multi-storey for a city that seeks to be more green, accessible and flexible.
Materiality and Construction
Prefabricated OSB boards form human scale building blocks, with optimised dimensions for efficient production and construction. Light enough to be carried upstairs or lifts, the pieces are designed for self-build, needing only simple tools to construct. As they can be assembled in-situ on the roof itself, there is no need for cranes, minimising disruption – imperative to the working city below. As the carrying capacity of an existing building is a limiting factor in the redevelopment of rooftop space, material choice is key; using lightweight OSB allows the prefabricated system to go higher.
The boxes can be created in any modular form, creating structural systems which can act as the building itself or interventions introduced to an existing building form. The buildings are designed for disassembly: reused and reconfigured, or taken apart to their original material parts for reprocessing. Insulating and cladding from the outside means the material is left fair-faced inside. Rather than using heavyweight windows, the proposal uses polycarbonate panels which allow for varying levels of light and privacy. Incorporating spaces for drone deliveries ensure the distribution and further adaptation of buildings in a car free world.
The Flying Factories proposal was a response to the RIBA Journal’s Raise the Roof competition.