London-based architecture practice Studio Weave, supported by developers Lendlease and LCR, have created The Hothouse, a large-scale installation located at International Quarter London (IQL). The structure of The Hothouse is reminiscent of a Victorian glasshouse and provides a controlled habitat for cultivating plants that would not ordinarily grow within the UK’s climate.
IQL is a new neighbourhood in the heart of Stratford and on the doorstep of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The area has a rich tradition for growing under glass and was historically dominated by a 20-mile stretch of greenhouses along the Lee Valley corridor. In the 1930s, there were more than 1,300 acres of greenhouses facilitating the production of ornamental plants, flowers and exotic fruits.
The environment of The Hothouse can be regulated and adapted to suit the plants within. Garden Designer Tom Massey collaborated with Studio Weave to develop a concept for the planting scheme that includes an array of productive plants from all over the world: an edible jungle of exotic and unusual species.
A transparent membrane is stretched over a framework of galvanized steel hollow sections to form the structure of The Hothouse with infill panels to form the bottom sections.
The Hothouse will be in situ for a year, displaying the variance and evolution of plants across all seasons – but also seeking to educate and inspire. The installation seeks to demonstrate the effects of climate change, whilst also celebrating the beauty of plants and humans’ adaptability, ingenuity and ability to overcome problems and create safe and stable growing environments for plants from all over the world.
Architect: Studio Weave
Image: Ed Reeve