Hydro Urban Reactor – ver 1.0


Keywords: Regenerative design, Water Sensitive City Fabric, London Plan, Dockland, Creative Industry, Housing shortage, Wetland Ecosystem, Eco-service, Water Transit Node, Hydraulic Power Network, Tidal Energy, Methane,


River Thames and waterways form London’s’ city fabric and have played key role as a natural infrastructure and resources for its inhabitation in manners of drinking water, transportation, power source, waste and sewer system. London is growing toward the East along Thames Gateway pioneering new opportunities and sustainable future to cope with housing, economy and environment issues. However, the current ‘Water-attracted’ developments along Docklands and riverside are degrading eco-systems by adding more artificial layers to secure the short-term profits without regarding sustainable growth and the long-term risks from its nature. “How can London be sufficient for both its dense metabolism and ecosystem around Thames water? How does city accommodate the urban life (living, enjoying and working) by reacting water landscape and civic space for its sustainable future?”


For instance, Dockland have been thriving urban regenerations of massive industrial legacy in London. However, Water contained Docks remained just as ‘open water’ maintaining its mode built in industrial ages. Likewise, Royal docks’ miles long docks are emptied despite of massive urban regeneration forces supported by Local Authorities and global interests[1].How do we actuate the latent ability of Royal docks in more ‘urban-dynamic’ and ‘eco-active’ ways?”


The Project executes a regenerative urban experiment on the high-density housing prototype as an inhabited green infrastructure (temporally named Hydro Urban Reactor) to benefits for city metabolism with its water ecosystem.


‘Hydro Urban Reactor’ (‘HUR’) aims

1- Loadingdensity on Royal Docks to provoke urban dynamism of economy and creative industry[2]

2- Improving connectivity over water to stimulate and nurture the activities between local and new

3- Rebalancing the feedback to ecosystem on tidal water ever-changing city fabric and wetland


‘HUR’ in Royal Docks proliferates as an inhabited green infrastructure along the riverside of Thames, docklands and other water network to facilitate its city metabolism and micro ecosystem on its scale. ‘HUR’ provides high-level density housings (in ranges of 165 dph ~435 dph)[3] and positions at strategic location for the flow of civic and nature. Floating and hydro engineering not only generate energy also enable dwelling units adjust on responsive grids of ‘HUR’ formation. Habitation crowds on the grid with ‘embedded (water related) eco-service unit’ collected from its regional biome. In addition, The Grid blurs boundary between land and water edge in order to bring water close to locals and to catalyze embedded wetland processing. Various compact housing types adapt to its contextual and environmental factors in order to provide diverse range of public and open space.  Tidal water flows varies the most aspects of ‘HUR’ operations and circulation that provokes reaction to its neighbor and benefits renewable energy and waste treatment. Piles and pontoons leave the surface area as natural condition for its ecologic services such as flood defense, carbon storage, fisheries and recreational function of wetlands. Methane should be extracted for energy and maintain a decent air quality of the city. Nonetheless, The Royal docks were captured as a sample site due to its strategic location and diverse urban opportunities and constraints, the potential of project resonates with broader aspects of Thames Gateway area.

[1] A vision for the Royal Dock

[2] Mayor of London, WCCR 2013

[3] London plan 2011 Housing SPG

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architectural association school of architecture diploma unit 16 ©2012