Lachlan Ellis (Lochy)
My name is Lachlan Ellis (preferred name Lochy) from Elgin (Speyside) in the north of Scotland. Throughout my time at GSA I have often found that the projects most interesting to me, are the ones which have a business element to them. Being brought up around a small family business I always tried to include elements to my designs that would legitimise them if placed in a real world scenario.
Choosing your own area of interest this year allowed me to harness that interest, with my passion for progressive industries. Vertical farming methods are now being adopted by supermarkets and delivery services such as Marks and Spencer and Ocado. Furthermore, the trend for food parcels is growing continuously more popular every year at the moment. Thus for my project, I aimed to fuse these two concepts together to create an experience. One that would progress the trend of these food parcel deliveries yet be sourced by the more environmentally friendly methods of vertical farming.
Vertical Farming Experience
For my project this year I designed hypothetical vegan, vertical farming experience encouraging people to purchase a monthly subscription food parcel and provide awareness to the alternative farming method. Also, within the structure will be an office for the marketing sector of this hypothetical vegan meal subscription service. Chefs will experiment and test different recipes for the subscription boxes which people can come in and try to then give feedback. Having the office so close to the feedback given will better future campaigns. Furthermore, an education centre will teach people about the advantages of a plant forward diet by this method. The aim is to provide a more environmentally concious alternative to the traditional farming methods. From the fractional amount of water required, to zero pesticides used in production and minimal transport, result in a healthier product for the consumer and environment. With more and more previously arable land deemed not fit for growing crops, this appears to be the future of fruit and vegetable production.
Using concrete in the Interior, too me is like bringing architecture inside. Inserting voids and glass combined forms windows, as if to be looking in from the outside. They represent also an almost satirical, ironic nod toward outdoor, conventional farming methods. Replacing roadsides with bridges and fields with enclosed structured rooms.
This nod, is also why I chose to keep and extend the sandstone from the facade. To create a barrier from the surrounding buildings. The building must sit, inconspicuous and naturally in its space in the city centre of Glasgow. However, a building with its purpose polar opposite to that of anything in its surroundings, should own a unique character and aesthetic.
Transitioning to the First Floor
For this project, I saw voids not as negative space but as its own material, as important as any other. With concrete being the dominant texture through my design, I needed to add notes or moments that soften this ‘dominance’. Brutalist architecture, within its name spells connotations of strength, impenetrability and of course ‘brutal’ appearance.
By punching holes within these forms, allowing the visitor to suddenly ‘see through’ at intentional moments, you can foster feelings such as excitement and curiosity as they meander through their route.
Furthermore, the voids and breaks in space, lend to the ‘verticality’ of the space. This mode of vertical farming doesn’t offer the stackable capability/element that other methods do. Reimagining vertical farming with a more experience forward mindset.
In this stage of the experience, the visitors are guided through the informative tunnel inspired by green houses, to learn about the process and benefits of vertical farming. Starting with the intricacies of hydroponics and then onward to its comparison to conventional farming methods.
Once you have finished walking through the tunnel, you are guided down the staircase to next stage of the experience.
Scent is a sense we often note when in a space whether mentioned or not. Inspired by the form of the vertical towers, these diffusers emit smells of the country side. Well, the pleasant ones at least. Placed in transitional stairwells, the purpose is to serve as a cognitive hint toward being in environments that conventional farming takes place.
Wondering Around the Towers
Similar to that of a whisky tour, you can taste the produce in hopes that you will go on to purchase the product. This is the final stage of the experience, whereby the resident chef will prepare taster sized meals for each visitor to try recipes they would expect to find in their food parcels. Both while eating and after everyone is finished, there will be time to ask any extra questions which the chef will answer. It is of course then important that each chef must also competently understand the process in order to fulfil each visitors experience. This was something highlighted to me as I was exploring my concept. From a business point of view, an interior can carry a brands story, however its ambassadors must carry its brand. Each moving part must work seamlessly to organically translate a brands ethos and better its progression.
The office came in as more a secondary part of my project. The reason I wanted to add a marketing team office from this hypothetical company, was to more legitimise the idea if it was implemented in real life. Having a marketing office so close to the product and feedback from tasting sessions would hopefully translate in higher quality campaigns in the future for this emerging market.
I didn’t go too far into the designing of the full office situated at the top of the building as it wasn’t the main focus of the project. Nevertheless, I wanted to add a small idea in regards to the staff room. It is common nowadays to have vending machines or stocked communal fridges in many office buildings. On this matter I thought why not add a mini enclosed vending machine-esque farm into the staff room? It could then serve to offer fruit bowls in breaks, supplied by the company for a healthier alternative.