As the Forgotten Spaces competition enters its third year Ellen Orchard reviews the exhibition at Somerset House.
With so much current emphasis on new projects and installations in the realm of landscape architecture, an exhibit like Forgotten Spaces is worth a studied look. Set in the crypt of Somerset House, the exhibit has an air of dampness that strengthens the impact of the projects proposed. Being in a ‘forgotten’ place itself allows the exhibit to transport the visitor to these abandoned sites of London that have fallen into disrepair and translates their need for change. It sparks the imagination of the endless possibilities that can be applied to these wasted spaces and their potential to be something worth experiencing by all. If designs can consider the context of a site and propose a future of activity and life, then we need to take the ‘forgotten’ spaces of our cities seriously and give them real consideration.
The more interesting proposals in the exhibit use historical context to reinvigorate spaces around the city while others recycled disused technologies into modern devices to activate desolate sites. Several areas along the Royal Docks considered creating new animated spaces to create common ground for communities as well. The common thread throughout the entire exhibit, however, is the aim to bring multiple functions, whether they be permanent or ephemeral, to spaces within our cities with the intention to further their contributions to the communities that surround them.
What Forgotten Spaces does best is explore not just the concept of creation but more importantly, regeneration of what already exists.