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Showcase 2021 Student Spotlight: Maddie Rutherford-Browne

Student Spotlight featuring BArch (Hons) Architecture student, Maddie Rutherford-Browne, and her project, A Place to Grow.

A Place to Grow by BArch (Hons) Architecture student, Maddie Rutherford-Browne

A Place to Grow by Maddie Rutherford-Browne

BArch (Hons) Architecture

As part of my final year studying architecture, I worked on Community Centre project located on the Victoria Embankment in Nottingham. The scheme aims to resurrect our nature-society relationship, through the immersion in a re-wilded landscape, as Nottingham’s urbanisation period and subsequent urban spread made the countryside inaccessible for many. The Victoria Embankment is one of the largest greenspaces remaining in Nottingham and this project aims to enhance and reclaim our natural spaces for well-being and the sustainable survival of our cities.

A Place to Grow provides a home for the community to grow physically, emotionally, mentally, and nutritionally, all through the vehicle of nature. Children can come to learn and play, and the elderly can spend time in the gardens, library or learning about horticulture, in a naturally beautiful setting. The concept of growth and rewilding encourages a symbiotic relationship between plants and humans. By removing the machine-made features from the site, allowing flooding of the River Trent to become an Oxbow Lake, the site will become a hub of biodiversity and wellness.

Every part of the building programme and form is designed to reconnect people with the outdoors through learning and planting. The key elements of the brief: nutrition/rest/connect/learn/move relate to places in the typical home. The areas of Kitchen, Lounge, Study and Garden are divided into timber pods, connected by boardwalks, which are intended to expand and move across the site as the community’s needs change and as the site evolves and rewilds. The project illustrates these changes at 1-, 10- and 25-year intervals. The building’s form appears to grow out of the ground, where the columns irregularly provide structural support, but also a haptic experience, imitating pond reeds and bullrushes.

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