This is a short illustrated story of care, sustainability and wellbeing between old and new generations. A journey of a day, a year, a generation through Arcadia, the citadel of nature, conviviality, and renewable resources.
"London has changed. Due to the climate crisis of 2019, the council decided to convert main streets and paved surfaces into green public spaces, repurpose public rooftops and private terraces for farming and allow nature to grow spontaneously to absorb toxic agents. The 2020 pandemic made metropolitan citizens rethink shared spaces and the relationship with people and other species. Larger spaces for new and old generations, Essential spaces. Spaces for conviviality, inclusiveness, and learning."
I. Crescent House Apartments
"It all starts on the friendship bench. Outside the Crescent House apartments on an autumn morning, the neighbors gather to pause and nourish their relationships surrounded by pets and plants. On top of them, solar panels and water collectors provide renewable resources to the community. While the chestnut benches with armrests for the elders offer moments of interactions between neighbors on the apartments’ communal pathways, indoor balconies extensions ensure shared spaces within the inhabitants."
II. The Work/Shops
"It is fall, it is winter. One of the adaptable laboratories, part of the Work/Shops strip hosts the production of ceramic vessels run by the older residents. The young ones observe, learn, and reproduce. The tradition is kept and the outcome will be sold on the bright ground floor to feed the economy of the community. The Work/Shops are a series of converted older shops and basements dedicated to the disciplines of art&crafts, reuse, technology, and research. Conceived as permeable double-height volumes, they connect the high-street to the Arcadian Gardens."
III. The Arcadian Gardens
"Outside the laboratories, underneath the previously forgotten underground colonnade, a strip of stables is the home of the farm animals. While the production activities are happening in the laboratories, children and the retired residents feed, nurse and pet other species, adopting them for a day, a month, or forever.
In front of the stables between two hills, a watering hole emerges in a valley of wild-flower fields, fruit trees, and medical plants. We are at the center of the Arcadian Gardens where chestnut benches offer to young and old a moment of meditation and seasonal natural landscape opportunities for picking, seeding, and bloom watching."
IV. The Kitchen Club
"On a sunny spring lunch, a cooking session is happening in the Kitchen Club underneath the new flourishing pergola extruded from the inherited iconic canopy of the tower. A famous retired chef from the public is invited to tutor the younger ones on how to preserve pickles vegetables which will be sold to feed the community. The panorama terrace has been converted into a place for cooking performances and homemade food. The central elevator brings the guests directly to the rooftop where they attend cooking classes, dine in between shimmering curtains, take away food from the deli displays, or sip a cocktail on top of the canopy to the soothing tunes of the United Radio Station."
V. The Baths
"Those who seek for care after their hands, feet and body gather around the tepid walls of the baths. The most popular space here is the circular feet-care pool where the humble ritual of the younger washing the feet of the older takes place. The water complex is a conversion of the old gyms into a space for health, sensuality and freedom connected to the existing pool and gymnasium. Underneath the wings of the new walkable hill, two corridors guide the guests to the entrances of the interior space, built with locally produced merdacotta and black clay cladding."
VI. The High Farms
"In summer late afternoons, the residents prepare to leave the High Farms, after a long day taking care of the crops. Sitting on the benches, they talk about life and prepare to transport the harvested goods to the underground refrigerated cells. On these long strips of land covering the converted unused rooftops, the young carers learn the cycles of life of vegetables which will be used in the Kitchen Club or sold during the Sunday Market."
"During a summery night, grandparents, parents, and children living in two recently merged maisonettes reunite around the combined chestnut tables for the usual family dinner. The households extend on two floors and combine in the living room through a perforation with foldable recycled aluminum doors which ensure the privacy of both families when needed."
"The sun is setting over the London grid and the residents are preparing for the long-awaited summer solstice celebration. It all happens in the Arena. The underground covered space created to promote amusement, excitement, and magic between generations. The volume is filled with a mist smelling like summer fields. Thick light beams move through the arena illuminating the Arcadian scene. Descending toe ground floor, the eyes, two large openings, visually connect the space, diffuse light, and host an explosion of plants.
IX. The Temple of Resonance
"To the sound of a morning gong echoing around the complex, the residents walk to the Temple of Resonance, a peaceful place for silence, prayer, and meditation among birds and rabbits. Inside a big aviary built on top of the existing conical bastion, the spiral internal ramp guides the pilgrims from the medicinal gardens to the main halls. A wooden handrail, recalling the quality of life of the residents, guides young and old towards the sublime."
"Seasons have changed here and the Estate changed with it. In Arcadia, time loses its perception. There is no old nor new, but just the present."