Architectural thesis: CATALYST @ Botanic Spine, Dublin, Ireland 2005
Greening the city. Connecting communities
Vision: To create the botanic spine, an 18km orbital eco corridor/ greenway for dublin city. A green thread that connects up a series of pocket parks, organic food gardens, local amenities, cities waterways and a new city metro underground.
“Greening the city, connecting communities”. Botanic Spine proposal for a greenway and eco corridor for Dublin city. An 18 km long orbital linear park that threads through a series of pocket parks; Its route links together the 6 existing city waterways, the Phoenix Park and the Botanic Gardens, which serves as the brain of the network that uses the spine as a constant feedback loop to output ecological projects and thinking into the wider city. The Botanic Gardens become the Dublin node in a global ecological system, greening the city, improving plant and animal life along green corridors, raising awareness and getting citizens involved with exciting eco initiatives. The Spine is also a CPUL ( continuous productive urban landscape) with a series of organic food gardens along it. It mimics somewhat the structure and function of the human spine: a network of different systems flowing through the spine; plant and animal life, people, water, cycle route, metro line, digital info, hurling fans heading up to Croke Park.
For the main body of architectural exploration, the thesis, I choose to focus on one such park; the green space that separates the new Dublin docklands from the existing Sheriff Street community and carried out an in depth exploration into what could fill this 330metre long strip of green. The idea of a CATALYST for the area that would lead to further interaction between different social neighborhoods was what interested me.
Attempting to make the idea REAL was another issue of the thesis for me. So while I was busy with the theoretical exploration I was also actively involved in real world activities to support and strengthen the thesis: A tree walk around the spine in which we gave out 115 native Irish species baby trees, 6 of which were planted in Sheriff Street, creating 2 new community gardens on the spine, organizing an exhibition about one of the gardens in Dolphins Barn public library, organizing bike rides around the spine, setting up the Dublin Eco City Group. The initiative was supported by many ecological and local resident groups in the city. These projects were discussed in Irish media and the 2005 Venice art bienale, interest in community gardens continues to grow today.
With the support of Ex Dublin City Lord Mayor Andrew Montague (who had done a bike ride with us and help weed in the one garden in his last day in office as deputy lord mayor in 2005), the city council implemented 50% of the greenway along the canal and has plans for more. Since 2005, there is an ever increasing growth of community gardens, not only in Dublin, but all throughout Ireland. My first experiments of city scale eco solutions were realised in 2003 with “Eco City Banja Luka” in post war Bosnia with the EASA network (European architectural student assembly), with whom I worked in 5 countries.
(other experimental videos of buildings and park at end)
Dublin inner city has historically been defined as that land which lies inside the two city canals. Recently that sense of city has been lost, this project aims to remind the city of its lost identity.
The Spine acts as an eco corridor and greenway that threads together the 6 existing city waterways, the Phoenix Park (Europe’s largest city park) and the Botanic Gardens, which serves as the brain of the network that uses the spine as a constant feedback loop to output ecological projects and thinking into the wider city. The Botanic Gardens become the Dublin node in a global ecological system, greening the city, improving plant and animal life along green corridors, raising awareness and getting citizens involved with exciting eco initiatives.
The Spine is also a CPUL (continuous productive urban landscape) with a series of organic food gardens along it. The Spine mimics somewhat the structure and function of the human spine: a network of different systems flowing through the spine; plant and animal life, people, water, cycle route, metro line, digital info, hurling fans heading up to Croker for the big game?
Aftermath: The idea of locally produced fruit and vegetables was a huge part of this project, we started dolphins barn community garden in April 2005, whcih grew and grew, eventually got evicted, but the community were given an empty lot, from which they still garden today.
In June 2005 there were 2 major bicycle related conferences, we set up 2 bicyle events to coincide with these that focused on the ideas of the Botanic Spine. In June there was the 15th International Velo-City conference, we organised the 1st Docklands City Cycle. A little bit later was the european greenways conference, during which we carried out Dublins first greenway cycle, International greenways and velo city people come to support these grassroots initiaves. Then it was illegal to cycle alongside the cities canals, so we had to collectively break the law to point out how unjust this was and attempt to force change…
Dublin Greenway cyclist along banks of the Grand Canal (then an illegal act)
Community gardens: “THE SELF SUFFICIENT CITY – Envisioning the habitat of the future” Stories of hope from Dublin | Dolphin’s Barn community garden under threat | Sowing spuds on Saint Patrick’s Day | The Cursed Earth Garden Videos: Site #1: – Sheriff street park part 1 | Site #2: part 2 – part 3 – part 4 | Building: building 1 – building 2 – building 3 Media: Original article here
catalyst @ botanic spine – logo
CATALYST @ Botanic Spine
Greenway for Dublin city
18km ecological corridor for the city
Dublins green and blue spaces
Botanic Spine mimicks somewhat the structure of the human spinal system
Spine threads through and connects city parks, waterways, communities
Spine as urban regenerator
Sheriff st park, Royal Canal park and Liffey park, green bridge
Concept = Stuff to do
(Click to enlarge)
Architectural concept boards, bringing life to then dead and unsafe areas
June 2005: Dublin Eco City Group created, many bike rides done around the Spine
Dublins first greenway cycle, with local police asking “Are ye the critical mass fellows?”
Phibsboro community garden: The cursed earth garden
DIY signage to garden
Potato planting on Saint Patricks Day
South Circular Road Community Garden, previously “Dolhins Barn community garden”
VIDEOS OF PARK AND BUILDINGS..