Before the Industrial Revolution, the City of London was shaped through food and its trade. Where there used to be the bustle of food, however, nowadays we find London’s Central Business District. People in ill-fitting suits hurriedly rush to their next meeting while wolfing down premade sandwiches from thousands of identical chain restaurants.
Of the four main wholesale food markets that used to be situated in the center of the city, only Smithfield Market remains today. Nonetheless, even that is slated for relocation. On a site that has held a meat market for 800 years, real history is being pushed out for the sterile-packaged history of a museum.
This thesis proposes an alternative. By utilizing tools of the picturesque movement, this thesis seeks to reinvent the relationship between people and the nature that sustains them in a prevailing site of allure—their homes. With an existing building, the intervention frames, reframes, and internalizes images of food production and thus takes on the role of an architectural Claude glass. As such, it mediates between two-dimensional pictures and their three-dimensional experience to refocus and reverse the trend of departure of people from their food. With foreground, middle ground, and background, the picturesque is included in the project at three levels: dwelling, complex, and site. These aspects all unite to reintroduce food diversity into the center of London and thereby shape a larger food network that anchors Smithfield Market in its place.
You are now entering a food area.