Heidi van Eeden’s textile mill design proposes to transform an urban wasteland into a resourceful environment.
An architectural solution that highlights the positive aspects of an urban wasteland, Heidi van Eeden’s design of a textile mill at the Daspoort Wastewater and Sewage Treatment Works proposes to create a resourceful environment, where wastewater is used to produce textiles and algae-based dye.
Van Eeden investigated the potential of industry as urban catalyst with which to regenerate urban environments and reintegrate fragmented socio-ecological systems in her thesis that won her Corobrik’s Architectural Student of the Year Award in 2014, serving as an example of a forward-thinking future architect.
Using waste as resource
She aimed to redefine the modern concept of waste, find alternatives for processes in a part of the capital which is considered an urban wasteland and mitigate pollution created by today’s industrialisation by focusing on the restructuring of the textile trade. She designed the site to form part of a new kind of industrial ecology where wastewater and other untapped on site resources are used to produce fabrics and colourings.
By integrating local communities and natural ecosystems with this industrial space, this 21st century textile mill is designed as a holistic environment which blurs distinctions between social, productive and natural space, and proves that there is productive value in resources discarded as waste.
Tackling the sustainability challenge
The textile mill project offers a sustainable solution to a complex challenge posed by waste sites in cities. While changing perceptions about these locations and structures, Van Eeden proposes a very realistic infrastructure that would transform urban wastelands into functional and purposeful spaces.
Her architectural solution not only functions efficiently like a machine, but also promotes the well-being of people in the community as well as preserving the surrounding nature in an aesthetically appealing development.
A well thought-out solution
By proposing that the current structures should be restored and rejuvenated instead of completely rebuilt, Van Eeden creates the chance for resources to be conserved as well as for the history of the site to be integrated with modern lifestyles. It thereby reconnects the community with its past and gives them an expectation of a future with opportunity.
Being a buildable design that will uplift the community and acknowledge an inherent industry, Van Eeden’s textile mill will be an asset to the City of Tshwane, should it ever be constructed.
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