100 Union Street

Key Facts:

Project summary: A number of interim use projects on a derelict site in Southwark.

Location: 100 Union Street, Southwark, London, UK

Programme: Lido, orchard, physic garden, public house

Initiator: The Architecture Foundation (The AF) first commissioned the Southwark Lido on this site working with EXYZT in 2008. In 2010 the AF worked with Wayward Plants and others to create the Union Street Urban Orchard. In 2011 the Urban Physics Garden was created and in 2012 EXYZT returned to the site with The Reunion Project that saw a public house and inn take shape.

Project Duration: Southwark Lido (4 weeks), Union Street Urban Orchard (4 months), Urban Physics Garden (3 months) ReUnion (2 months)

Lead in Time: Variable (< 6 months)

Site Area: 800m2

Client Team: The Architecture Foundation (Southwark Lido and Union Street Urban Orchard) , Lake Estates (Urban Physics Garden and ReUnion)

Project Team: Variable including The AF, Wayward Plant Registry, EXYZT, BOST, LivingARK

Funding Sources: Variable, land sponsored by Lake Estates each time.

Project Costs (Build): Variable from £15k – £50k

Profitability/Loss: Not for profit

Permissions / Permits: Temporary Event Licence, Alcohol Licence

Local Links: All projects worked very closely with the local community.

Publicity/advertising: Press, website, flyers, social media, publications

Project Evaluation:

Site Details & Ownership:
The site is owned by Lake Estates who have consent for a residential led development on the site. The development was stalled for some years and during this period Lake Estates worked with The Architecture Foundation to commission emerging designers to activate the site. The first two projects were the Southwark Lido and the Union Street Urban Orchard and then in 2011 Lake Estates commissioned the Urban Physics Garden and in 2012 the ReUnion as a result of the previously successful projects. The land is situated on a residential street and has very attractive features such as the railway arches. Works on site have now [2012] begun.

Project Reach / Visitors / Target Audience:
The target audience for the projects varied but at their heart an engagement with the surrounding community, both as users but also as volunteers in the build processes. The Union Street Urban Orchard allowed for a lasting legacy with all 85 fruit trees being planted on existing community gardens and estates in the local area when the project came to an end.

Problems Encountered / Overcome:
Securing funding and in-kind support for all projects was one of the major challenges though they all managed to be produced with the help of volunteers and a huge amount of enthusiasm. As the site sits in a residential area a lot of public consultation and engagement was necessary in order to communicate exactly how each project could benefit them as locals. Building these relationships took time and some small pockets of resistance needed to be overcome.

Feedback from users / staff:
“Above all, I sensed that the community had been given as big a boost of life as the once barren land beneath…The Architecture Foundation together with Heather Ring of the Wayward Plant Registry, had given leadership to the project, but my sense was that the community had joined in, and augmented it with enthusiasm” Jon Snow, Journalist and Presenter on the Union Street Urban Orchard.

What next?
The site is currently being developed so the future of interim uses on the site is unclear at present.

Complementary Programmes:
Cafe, disco,shop, public programmes of workshops, events and film screenings

Project Website / Further Info:
http://www.unionstreetorchard.org.uk/, http://www.physicgarden.org.uk/, http://the-reunion.org.uk/,
http://www.architecturefoundation.org.uk, http://www.lakeestates.co.uk/