Very precisely, London on the 17th of February 2019 will apparently have a population of 81,73,941. It seems a little too acurate. What if a few of them have gone skiing in Switzerland, or off to the beach in Brighton? Ignoring the strange precision, if we look 10 years, or less, into the future, apparently London could have a population increase of over 10 million people. Thank goodness for Brexit then, as we will probably have shrunk to 6 million by then (ignoring the tourists) as people leave the country.
However, we do have a slight problem – how to feed that lot, when we can’t import as much food as we used to from Europe and we need somehow to become more self-sufficient? Imagination is required and it is on show at Zaha Hadid’s Roca London Gallery in spaces from tunnels below ground to parasitic additions on skyscrapers tens of floors above ground. Rooftops, schools, rivers, power stations, building facades – all are fair game in the new 21st century ecological world, whether it be to create spaces for bees to prosper or for heat waste to support greenhouses. You might say that the opportunities are limitless – all it takes is dedication, imagination and technology – plus some cultural change by local users.
What is impressive is that these are not wild whacky ideas – all of them are in design, planning or construction (if not actually implemented). These can be up and running in the next couple of years – no need to wait until 2026.
Curated by Department 22, the exhibition is designed as a series of drawing boards, lit by Angelepoise lamps, over architectural drawing boards, just like an architects’ studio from before the age of digital and computerised drawing.