The Union Street Urban Orchard

The Union Street Urban Orchard

The Union Street Urban Orchard header image 3

Partner Projects

Urban Birds: Nestworks 1 2 3

London architectural practice 51% studios has designed three Nestworks for the urban birds of Bankside featuring a series of sophisticated readymades: blocks, boughs and bushes. 51% studios approach to design is responsive, site specific and provocative. The project has been informed by ornithological derives with Peter Holden, locally celebrated for setting up the annual peregrine falcon public views at Tate Modern. The project takes its inspiration from Witherford Watson Mann’s Bankside Urban Forest Strategy.

Nestworks 1 2 3 are a direct response to the festival’s theme of exchange: of knowledge, habitat, materials. 51% studios discovered that the standard hollow block used to build some of London’s most celebrated architecture is made from concrete with 55% recycled woodpulp, a material that when used in nestboxes is proven to fledge more young than any other. Synergistically the interior block dimensions are text book sizes for house sparrows, radically in decline in the area. Other species designed for are blue tits, great tits, starlings, wrens, robins and blackbirds.

Nestworks 1 2 3 is a legacy project delivered in collaboration with Peter Holden and support from the Architecture Foundation, Riverford Organic and Lignacite. Maps showing locations of the Nestworks, some of which are hidden, are available in the Orchard at Union Street, or to download.

The Nest: An Urban Timber Garden

The Finnish Institute is proud to present the ‘Nest’, a timber pavilion showcasing the best of new Finnish wood architecture. The project will be presented as part of The Union Street Urban Orchard, adding an abstract timber garden into the urban environment. The pergola-like design – consisting of a mesh of shelter, decking and integrated furniture – offers a spot where visitors of the orchard can meet and explore the urban garden.
The ‘Nest’ is a result of an architectural competition with the ‘Wood Program’ at the Department of Architecture at the Aalto University. The winning entry is designed and built by a group of 15 international students and in-house architects of the ‘Wood Program’.

The ‘Wood Program’, directed by leading wood architect Pekka Heikkinen, is a one-year programme that aims to increase the knowledge of the architectural, ecological, aesthetic and technical aspects of wood in contemporary architecture. The programme is internationally renowned for its annual 1: 1 scale experimental projects, including several pavilions and most recently a prototype solar powered energy house as part of the ‘Solar Decathlon 2010’ competition in Madrid.

The ‘Nest’ is part of the Finnish Institute’s programme of activities showcasing Finnish design and architecture leading up to 2012 when Helsinki is World Design Capital.

Ping Pong Skip

A public ping-pong table has found its way onto the streets of London by taking over a skip on Union Street. Housed in a regular builders skip, the ping-pong table invites people to play and asks what do we want to find in our urban environment?

The work is a continuation of a series of uses for skips around the city by designer Oliver Bishop-Young. Other events have included swimming pools, parks, skate ramps and tap into the potential left in the things we throw away. Skips are such good places for claiming space in the city and sharing it with people, not cars. They are tools for DIY town planning.

The Indenti-kit Urban Playground

In the heart of the city there is an Orchard, and deep in the Orchard is a tiny house, and this house is slowly getting covered in the drawings and writing of children. Children are beginning to walk through their city and observe their surroundings and this house is a place they can congregate to share their experience.
The Past… Taking inspiration from fairy tales, Thomas Kendall and Tamsin Hanke have designed this structure to help encourage children to explore their city and become a part of it.
The Present… During the London Festival of Architecture T & T will provide a series of maps they have worked on in partnership with Living Streets to combine exploration of the festival while learning road safety in a mini adventure. Once the walk is over the children return to the Orchard to decorate the structure with drawings and writing about what they have seen and learned on their walk. In each sector of the city the structure inhabits it would develop a local identity of each space and the people through their interaction with it.
A green note… In full spirit of the Make do and Mend aspect of the festival this structure is designed to be treated like a dress pattern. You can take each shape and apply it to a material that you have to hand. It is patchwork construction.
So come and play… bring your identity to the playground and learn to walk/love your city.
This event is part of the International Architecture Student Festival coordinated by London Metropolitan University and The Architecture Foundation.

The Scrumping Shed

Dr Charlie Henchard is a maverick agricultural scientist with an obsessive mission: to resurrect a long-lost cider recipe, and create a cider so powerful it might well change the course of history. A few days ago, Henchard vanished without a trace.
Surveillance on his flat, his allotment, and his lab shed have all drawn blanks. All we are left with are the contents of the shed itself: his log-book, his experimental fermentations, his scrawled working notes and an assortment of letters, clippings and postcards from his network of sympathisers around the globe. A few helpers from The Union Street Urban Orchard have been piecing together these scraps of information, and it seems that Charlie was a key figure in something much bigger: a clandestine group of radical cider selfexperimenters
known only by the acronym S.A.P.
Over the course of the orchard’s existence, Henchard’s lab shed will be open to all comers. You are welcome to examine his formulations, letters, notes and equipment, and try to help us decipher the fate of this extraordinary cider-maker.
Go to for further examples of the archive, which we will catalogue as best we can in the hope of unearthing a critical clue. Curated by Claire Healy, in collaboration with James Wilkes, Charlie Tims and Vahakn Matossian.

Fruit City Mapping Station

This is an interactive mapping station inspired by and in collaboration with Vahakn Matossian’s ‘Fruit City’. It is a space where we can come together to share our local knowledge of the fruit trees that are growing across London and add to a collective map.
Have you ever thought that a pear tree may be growing right by your home?
The legacy of the Urban Orchard is physically mapped on site using custom-made tree tags. Take a walk amongst the wide variety of fruit trees to discover their stories and to find out where each tree is going to be relocated within the Bankside area once the festival is
Fruit City /