East of Eden

  • 16th Apr - 22nd May
  • Project Space


East of Eden is a design research project that encompasses the creative output of the entire Department of Architecture and Landscape, from year one to postgraduate and across all the architecture and landscape programmes. Initiated to celebrate the Department’s move into its new home in the heart of Greenwich, the project hopefully marks the start of a long and fruitful relationship with our new surroundings.

Three sites were chosen for this project through a mix of fortuitous circumstance, university connections and at the invitation of interested groups. The project name comes from the fact that all three sites East Greenwich, the Greenwich peninsula and Thamesmead are situated to the east of the ‘Edenic’ maritime campus.

For each of the three sites the Department is working alongside an external partner that represents a very different idea regarding the development of the area. In East Greenwich we are working with residents and the Greenwich society; on the Peninsula we are principally working with the Hong Kong based developers Knight Dragon and at Thamesmead we are working with Peabody Housing Trust.

East Greenwich and the Greenwich Peninsula are clearly of interest due to their proximity to the Maritime campus, whereas the third, Thamesmead, has recently been acquired by the Peabody, an organisation that has strong links with the University through the Universities Pro Chancellor and Chair of Court who is also CEO of Peabody. These three groups have very different agendas, priorities and interests and it was thought insightful to provide students this contrast as a backdrop for developing their academic projects.

East of Eden has a series of aims; to engage with our local area and to develop a social, cultural and physical analysis of these sites; to ask questions about the forces that drive the development of the city in 21st century and to speculate upon a range of strategies that might suggest an inclusive agenda for urban growth. But most importantly to provide an exciting and provocative range of proposals for these sites, from practical approaches to housing and streetscape, to more esoteric musings on progressive technology and new forms of social action and organisation. A large part of this project will question the reliance on the market to develop a coherent strategy for urban growth and critique the financial mechanisms that drive the contemporary city.

The work shown here has been selected as part of the ‘Work in Progress’ Exhibition to coincide with Future Cities 4, the final output of the East of Eden project will be a book covering the output of the student cohort supplemented by projects from members of staff and a wide variety of pieces from some of our external collaborators, as a marker for our arrival into Greenwich, East of Eden looks like being significant contribution to the local scene.

Nic Clear (Head of Architecture and Landscape) April 2015