City Hermitage is our Studio Team’s design for an ‘Eco Home Pavilion’ competition run by the London Festival of Architecture and Worshipful Company of Chartered Architects. Architects and designers were invited to design a pavilion that explored innovative ways to address the impact of buildings on the environment and considered the future of sustainable living.

The brief inspired us to design a place that will draw Londoners together to talk and learn. A sustainable future for the climate, and how we need to adapt how we live, must consider affordability, and bring everyone into the conversation, because new ways to steer the climate crisis in the right direction will involve congregation, education and change.

Our City Hermitage pavilion is inspired by hermit history, where hermits dwelling in nature offer wisdom to those who venture into their realm. The introduction of a hermitage into the city will offer anxious passers-by a similar place of respite, and give guidance for making a sustainable home for themselves.

In nature hermitages were built in secluded places from locally sourced material. The City Hermitage will sit in the city’s secluded places such as meanwhile spaces and vacant plots awaiting redevelopment. The hermit will repurpose materials from local housing sites due for demolition such as brickwork from Bethnal Green Road and UPVC windows from Wapping Lane, creating a collage of familiar elements of London homes.

Londoners will wander into City Hermitage to learn from the gardener’s guide to cultivating insulating mycelium, the carpenter’s guide to making external window shutters and the therapist’s guide to caring for our mental wellbeing.

The structure will demonstrate ways for individuals to participate in the circular economy and tackle global challenges: from upcycled furniture to locally sourced durable materials, and adaptable structures that make it easy to change their own homes.

This interactive pavilion will enable dialogue, encouraging bewildered users to come together to consider the challenges facing us during the next decade.

“This competition was an opportunity for us to explore our crucial role as architects in designing a more sustainable future for people and the planet.

At Chetwoods we believe that aiming to retain and repurpose any existing buildings should be the starting point for considering all project briefs. By retrofitting the existing built environment, we are adding to the history and narrative of a place while saving embodied carbon.”     Yianni Kattirtzis, Chetwoods Studio Director.

The London Festival of Architecture and Worshipful Company of Chartered Architects initiative was in support of the Mayor of London’s ambition to make London a net zero carbon city by 2030 presented in the City of London’s Climate Action Strategy.


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