The Growing Space

London (UK) 2023

University of Westminster, UK

The Growing Space, designed by master’s students at the University of Westminster’s Live Design Studio, provides space for community horticultural activities in Newham, east London

The Growing Space is a 68m2 Douglas fir lightweight timber structure which adds to the existing cluster of buildings making up Cody Dock’s community hub. It runs a programme to expand the charity’s reach, running gardening and workshops for local schools, as well as space for rent.

The architecture was developed as part of a collaborative process. It has a structure of frames with cross-bracing and dry construction with all elements pre-cut with 3D-printed pegs reducing the construction time to 10 days. The base has six pad foundations with paving slabs, wrapped in polycarbonate, allowing the activities within to permeate out.
An inverted roof creates a gutter for rainwater harvesting, irrigating propagated plants.

The design process was a collaborative effort. Students initially developed individual outline proposals from which we finalised the design in collaboration with our fantastic partners.

‘This project is the first time we have built a structure outside the university premises, which was a new challenge. Cody Dock was an enthusiastic partner, with students learning about community-led regeneration and eco-restoration.’
Maria Kramer, senior lecturer and architect, University of Westminster

Client: Cody Dock

Project Lead: Maria Kramer. Tutors: Maria Kramer and Corinna Dean

Project Partners: Webb Yates Engineers, Nicholas Alexander, OfCA, Gasworks Dock Partnerships

Funder: University of Westminster QHT Fund

Students: Rachel Armstrong, Pranjal Bafna, Archie Brown, Galina Dimova, Adam Din, Sean Hamilton, William Lambert, Manu Mohan Mohandas, Aya Nasr, Chris Painter, Megan Rees, Blessing Sulaiman, Falguni Thakkar, Lucy Turner, Hamza Khan, Nicholas Julia Kousoulou, Wladysiak

Photographs by Edmund Sumner

Research question: How to collaborate with communities within an academic environment; How to further integrate design and making/construction; how does the process influence the outcome including team dynamics, relationships with consultants and makers etc.
Live Project Research: methods of knowledge creation and how this could influence practice


+, 11-50, Architecture, Curricular, Extra-curricular, Initiated by institution, Months, Permanent, Postgraduate, Sponsorship, Students with tutor, United Kingdom, Westminster Univ.