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Wanderer's Wonder commended: Mateusz Musial for Out of the green

Words:
Isabelle Priest

A galvanized steel mesh roof sheltering a small green space provides an urban corner that could be replicated on infill sites throughout our cities

Steel bars screen and define Mateusz Musial’s urban stopping point.
Steel bars screen and define Mateusz Musial’s urban stopping point.

Out of the green

Mateusz Musial, architect, WXCA Architecture Office

Recent rises in property prices have led to public space in cities becoming more squeezed and deprioritised. However, the pandemic has shown us how important it is, providing refuge particularly for those without much space of their own.

Out of the green develops a replicable scheme for the urban wanderer on an underdeveloped infill site of low investment value. With relatively small financial outlay, it turns the site into a local meeting place for residents that encourages biodiversity and shelter for animals, while requiring little maintenance.

The project is designed as a light, modular canopy that will enable use in good weather and bad. It aims to reduce material to a minimum and use recycled elements where possible. The roof is a galvanized steel mesh, while a polycarbonate layer ensures sunlight transmission and rain protection. 

The awning is supported by pillars that double as downpipes through which rainwater from the roof can be collected in underground tanks to be used for plant watering. Its envelope of varying-length steel bars also evokes the image of rain.

  • A galvanized steel mesh roof sits over the space.
    A galvanized steel mesh roof sits over the space.
  • Out of the green by Mateusz Musial.
    Out of the green by Mateusz Musial.
  • A modular canopy sits over a small area of green in the city.
    A modular canopy sits over a small area of green in the city.
  • Out of the green by Mateusz Musial.
    Out of the green by Mateusz Musial.
  • Out of the green by Mateusz Musial.
    Out of the green by Mateusz Musial.
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The judges agreed the proposal provided an ideal urban stopping point, with Garreth McMahon suggesting it could even become a destination rather than just a place to stumble on. Hagos felt that the project ‘dealt with socio-economic issues more than other schemes on the longlist’.

Anna Liu enjoyed how ‘it channels attention into forgotten spaces and is quite mysterious, like a screened private space between wasteland and public realm’, and the way it could be applicable to many urban corners. ‘It would be bound to have around-the-clock activity that doesn’t have to be unsavoury but can be a celebration of people meeting.’

 

To view the winners, commended and shortlisted projects click here. RIBAJ Wanderers Wonder competition is produced in association with The Galvanizers Association

 

 

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