The Last Straw. Ratho Community and Visitor Centre
Within the context of the circular economy, the project for a Community and Visitor center looks at the potential of reusing a soon-to-be-demolished library in Ratho, West Edinburgh.
Buildings are routinely designed, built, used, and demolished to start on a ‘blank slate‘ and make new ones in the continuous process of urban renewal. The site is wiped clean, all of the materials end up in landfill as waste, away from our sight. What will be the last straw, turning this process around?
The site of the Ratho library located in a dynamic situation, in which the pressure for development and fitting into the surrounding context lead to the decision for the demolition of the temporary building, impacting the rich and valuable social history and ecology. By considering the village’s history, an alternative proposal is made, which challenges the linear model of resource use and the value of permanence by proposing a reused and reusable modular straw building. Straw-bale construction offers a radical way to adapt the existing structure and solve many of its issues with respect to thermal efficiency, carbon footprint, sustainable materials, durability, and cost. Its architecture responds to the locality, giving new life and value to the existing temporary structure by taking local straw and timber systems. By adapting the existing modular building, the project achieves a more flexible design, combining communal and tourist functions.
Collaborators: Annice Xu, Ecem Gigerdi, Jemma Jamin, Koh Noguchi