Niels Werner Hersmann
Recent years have seen London face a dramatic decrease in industrial land; from 8.282 hectares in 2001 to 6.976 in 2015. Following this trend, a further reduction of 2.300 ha is being predicted by the year 2041.
The London Plan - first published in 2004 by the London authorities to set out a strategy for an economic, environmental, transport and social framework and lastly to manage industrial land - has failed as a
planning tool since the annual releases have been exceeded by three times as recommended.
Beside the declining availability of industrial land, the high demand for housing and office space,
particularly in the centre of London is reflected by the distinct inequality in the distribution of industrial businesses, where Outer London accounts for 78% and Inner London for the remaining 22%.
With constant danger of more and more land being converted, the city is about to lose not only a decisive impulse for its economic future and a key amplifier of a diverse urban landscape, but moreover a crucial part of its social vitality.
In particular, the manufacturing industry will have to comply with the population’s ever growing need for tailor-suited products in the future, and needs to be close to its consumers and highly skilled workers to deliver on demand.
Therefore: we have to find a way to maintain industry in the city.
An industrial zone south of Battersea Power Station that stretches over an area dominated by 19th century brick viaducts is the last remaining part of the former vibrant industry of Nine Elms and is already
threatened by speculation. But what first appears to be a unity reveals at a closer look many different
owners running these estates, operating separately from each other.
My project intends to change this by establishing a new guild as the legal institution that accounts for knowledge transfer, following the apprenticeship system, and a land trust that owns and manages the land. The vivid exchange with the surrounding communities and the wider city is a key factor to
re-establish a direct relation with the producing industry.
A cluster of structures will provide student housing, stacked workshops, offices, presentation and
recreation facilities, and will be laid out over the existing network of spaces next to or in-between
the brick viaducts of the site.
These idiosyncratic urban rooms will be reconnected and give – in connection with the high-rise
workshop buildings – a physical presence to the industrial estate and the idea of industry in the
21st century city itself.
School of Architecture
MA Architecture, 2017
- BA Interior Architecture and Furniture Design, Burg Giebichenstein Halle / Germany, 2014
- Herzog de Meuron 2014–2015, Basel / Switzerland; Scientific assistant at Burg Giebichenstein, 2013–2014
- Group exhibition at the Japanese Embassy in London, 2016; Exhibition at salone internazionale del Mobile Milan / Italy, 2012
- Winning entry for the Design Competition Albert Embankment, 2015; Giebenstein Design Award | Best teamwork (with Burgshop 2.0), 2013; Facade Design Competition | 2nd place, 2012
- ART AUREA | Magazine for applied arts, jewelry and design, 2012; dds Magazine for furniture and interior design, 2012