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The Great British (Parking) Bake-Off

Fatkin imagines new uses for car parks as part of annual Gingerbread City exhibition

Mark Moran
16 December 2021
Fatkin`s gingerbread car park
Fatkin modelled the car park before construction began
Fatkin modelled the car park before construction began
The Fatkin team survey the finished project
The Fatkin team survey the finished project

 

Architecture practice and transport hub specialist Fatkin has created a gingerbread multi- storey car park for this year’s Gingerbread City, hosted by charitable organisation the Museum of Architecture.

The Gingerbread City is an annual exhibition where architects, designers and engineers create an entire city made of gingerbread. The aim of the exhibition is to connect the public with architecture through an innovative festive display, and the event raises money to support the charity’s work in programming, exhibitions and events.

This year’s theme is ‘Nature and the City: re-wilding and creating space for biodiversity and balance’. The Fatkin team took on the challenge of ‘Layercake Levels’; a plot on the Forgotten Spaces island, identified as home to a disused multi-storey car park to be converted into studio spaces and a rooftop urban pollinator meadow.

Re-use of MSCP structures is a familiar question for everyone in the industry, and Fatkin wanted to explore and illustrate some of the challenges faced by developers and operators when seeking to repurpose a structure designed for a very specific function. Starting with a split-deck arrangement, Fatkin reinforced the frame of the building with a gingerbread exoskeleton, reinforcing the existing structural grid and providing additional support to the retained decks.

The gradient of the existing decks, the limited floor-to-floor heights and the comparatively low structural loading potential of the decks meant Fatkin did not consider these appropriate for conversion. Therefore Fatkin removed half of the deck surface beyond the centre ramp, creating a void within the frame where a modular volumetric structure could be installed to provide suitable accommodation for start-up units.

Fatkin suggested the remaining portion of the decks could be used for lightweight urban agriculture and the rooftop repurposed for both the pollinator meadow and for a drone distribution centre, with further airship drones stacked vertically alongside the start-up units.

The Gingerbread City is on public display until 9 January 2022 at 6-7 Motcomb Street, Belgravia, London.

Tickets for timed visits are available from www.thegingerbreadcity.com

 
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