We have reimagined the Queensmere shopping centre in Slough as an ecosystem where different natural and artificial components act together to form a bubble of life for the local community.
The central, two-storey-high space is converted into a 21st-century walled garden akin to the historic walled gardens, once used to provide produce for local communities. The microclimate generated within the double-height space allows vegetables and fruit to be grown on site via vertical farming and trees and flowerbeds to invade the paved ‘galleria’.
The two large anchor stores at either end of the centre provide the interface between the walled garden and the existing urban fabric and community.
Uses such as a zero-waste supermarket make the most of the resources produced by the walled garden, while the ‘fix it don’t bin it’ repair shop promotes both upcycling and recycling.
The sustainability and circularity of the energy systems are vital to support the renewed shopping mall. The reimagined roof level accommodates water collection tanks, solar panels and wind turbines, which provide sustainable and circular energy.
The double-height space allows fruit and vegetables to be grown on site
Water collected from the roof flows across the building to support vertical farming and store ancillary uses, as well as creating water features throughout the space, providing joy and cooling.
Autonomous robots would provide delivery, cleaning and waste recycling services, contributing to the reduction of operating costs, energy, emissions and waste sent to landfill.
We envision the shopping centre as a self-sufficient vessel of sustainable micro-ecosystems working together to promote a circular, sustainable future for our shopping centres.
The proposal can be delivered in phases to achieve the overall vision, with some elements used as ‘meanwhile’ space for the local community, which could benefit from the renewable energy and urban greening installations already in place.
The great design challenge: centre forward
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