Wick Curiosity Shop


A hot cup of tea in your bag

I ran into Charlie on his way to town and he produced this little stove from his backpack along with some firewood. The mini stove is made from two old cans and is designed to boil water for a small pot of tea. The same principle to the chimeny effect which we expermineted with when charring the timber. Short intense heat.

Its good to always be prepared for a quick cup of tea along the way.

EIHK at the Abbey Gardens Spring Event

Join us next week Saturday at the Abbey Gardens Spring Event. Abbey Gardens is a great local community garden in Newham set up by local residents, designed by somewhere. It is also one of Charlies 'workshops' and comfrey plantations.

We will be outing our experiements alongside all the other activity so don't miss it.
Saturday the 20th of April
2-5Pm at Abbey Gardens
Bakers Row
E15 3NF

find out all the information here

Contracting Re-use in the Queen Elizabeth II Park Transformation

The LLDC has taken over the London 2012 Olympic site, and is responsible for transforming a Games venue into a piece of city. But they are reluctant at present to talk about how they are managing re-use in what they term the ‘Queen Elizabeth II Park Transformation’.

Although the target of 90% re-use or recycling of demolition waste was exceeded during the initial building of the Olympic Park, with ‘only’ 7000 tonnes of waste going to landfill, A report by BioRegional (here) concludes that more could have been done to re-use and reclaim materials rather than simply downcycling them to inferior grades of usage; re-used or reclaimed materials made up only 0.5% of the original target.

However, although elements of the park are set to re-open in a phased manner, the ‘transformation’ will take place over an extended period of time. There is therefore roughly a 5 to 15 year window when re-use will be possible for materials coming from the transformation works - and new construction on sites currently marked for interim use - will be possible. It is rumoured that the new contracts - for transformation of the park to legacy mode - differentiate between ‘re-use’ and ‘recycling’, although what targets are set for each, within the magic 90% target figure, remains unclear.

Contractor Bam Nuttall has been awarded the £70million ‘clear, connect, complete’ Legacy contract by the LLDC. The work is split into two contracts – a £27M North Park and £49M South Park development – in which Bam Nuttall will clear the games temporary venues, walkways and roads and connect the park with new roads, cycle and pedestrian paths, and complete the permanent venues, bridges and parklands. Details of the work to be completed can be found here. Additionally, Balfour Beatty has been awarded a £50million contract to run services and facilities at the Park over the next ten years, including Estates Management, which inevitably touches upon how waste is managed, re-used and redistributed. Add to this understanding the observation that Bam Nuttall also won - and in some cases still holds - a number of other Olympic contracts; the initial £360million site remediation, a £122million contract for the South Park Roads & Bridges and £70million for North Park. In all, there is around £300million available for ‘transformation’, with contracts for the Aquatics Centre, Stadium, visitor centres and playgrounds and South Plaza yet to be awarded. With such a compartmentalised approach to delivery, I do wonder how easy it will be to manage ‘re-use’ holistically across the site and its surrounding communities.

Tracking down the 10%

A contract for some of the 10% appears to have been agreed with the National Community Wood Recycling Project - although some material we were aiming to get our hands on has ended up at their Gravesend’ Local Enterprise’ centre(even though they have a facility nearer, in Bromley). This madness seems to result from way re-use contracts are arranged, despite the aspiration to see as much of the Olympic material re-used in local communities. Pre-qualification seems to rule out interested parties simply turning up to claim some material - you need an articulated truck to access the disposal sites, and seemingly to have been ‘screened’. It is also necessary to provide some guarantee as to how the material will be re-used, and presumably re-users will be expected to be available for publicity related interviews and exposés.

It is possible to get some low value materials - such as pallet wood, part-cut sheets of ply, 1m or 1.5m lengths of 2x3 - for free from the NCWRCP depots at Gravesend, Bromley, Romford (its operator is currently ‘off-line’), who also manage reclamation of timber from other projects besides the Olympics. It is often best just to go and have a look, and to negotiate.

At a recent Wick Session on Re-use, Moira Lascelles from the Architecture Foundation spoke about her work researching the viability of building a Re-use Centre in East London. Looking to prove that an ‘audience’ exists with enough ‘traction’ to underpin a viable business model, they are publishing soon, as part of a wider interim-use piece of work for the LLDC that looks at both UK and international case-studies of re-use operations.

There is certainly an appetite for re-using materials. The LLDC have also put out a tender for a local-level re-use services; there is a contract out there - but it is unclear about the details of the contract being tendered - who could apply? What are the likely, onorous, pre-qualification conditions? People also often do not know about the tax-breaks - If you are a charity and you use recycled materials that are donated, you can reclaim gift aid on the donations.

Cre8 ARC

Some of the elusive material available to ‘local communities’ has turned up at the Cre8 Lifestyle Centre, where they are constructing the Cre8 ARC - a site-specific ‘Earthship’ made from materials sourced from within 2miles.

Cre8 have been ‘dangling the carrot’ of corporate social responsibility (CSR) in front of Bam Nuttall and Balfour Beatty, and have uncovered some genuine souls as a result; as project-manager Martin puts it ‘the individuals are just like me and you - they want to be supportive - they just have this job to do too’. Whether through donations of materials that enable a tax breaks and box ticking, or through secondment of expert staff - such as mechanical and environmental engineers and financial planning specialists - Cre8 are harnessing the corporate will to be associated with ‘sustainable initiatives’.

In our study of their project, we hope to understand how they put their network to use in sourcing material through the Olympic mechanisms.

Useful Contacts

Bam Nuttall

Steve Hayward - steve.hayward@bamnuttall.co.uk

National Community Wood Recycling Project (head office - Brighton)

Ali Walmsley - T. 01273 203040

Contacts for Gravesend NCWRP Local Enterprise:

Web: here.

Contact: Jo(anne), Lee, Paul an Georgie

Contact for Bromley NWRC Local Enterprise:

Web: here.

Contact: Kevin Fletcher

Architecture Foundation:

Moira Lascelles - moira@architecturefoundation.org.uk

Balfour Beatty

Louise McCullough (Construction UK Enquiries) - T. 02072 166846

Slowly but collectively

Our monolithic carbonised planting system is coming along slowly but collectively. It needs one more final push. The official unvailing will most likely take place on the 20th of April when we will take part at the Abbey Gardens spring festival. A wonderful garden in Newham designed by artist duo Nina Pope and Karen Guthrie from somewhere, who are also behind the floating cinema.

Abbey Gardens is also one of Charlies growing areas and if you join us on the day you will get to see his self buid green house and comfrey silo. We will post some updates closer to the event but in the meantime you can enjoy some images of the developing planter.

Shed M.O.T

Recently, I was delighted to meet Hassan, who was introduced to me as a 'recycling powerhouse'. Hassan and his son run H&H motors on Old Bethnal Green Road. He was (and still is) a plot holder at the old Manor Garden Allotments, which had to make way for the Olympic redevelopment. The Allotments are to be relocated back to a new plot in the Olympic park next year.

The allotment society ran a very strong campaign to save the allotments from demolition, though ultimately unsuccessful. You can see the history of the campaign at the fantastic Life Island (www.lifeisland.org) website. You might also have come across Hassan in the videos and interviews produced as part of the campaign, some of which are in the Curiosity Shop collection. Or you might have seen him in Sam Clark's MORO EAST cook book, which documented the last growing season and community life of the allotments before they were bulldozed.

I visited Hassan at his garage with Tak Hoshino - a japanese architect - who was heavily involved in the campaign and who helped to draw up an alternative master plan arguing for the retention of the allotments as part of the new park. Tak has a keen interest in recycling - not from a sustainability point of view, but as a frame of mind which makes do and is able to adapt.

The desire to work with the allotments and the 'shed culture' came from looking at Thomas Pausz's book 'Revisiting the Community Shed' - a survey of the many sheds on the old Manor Garden Allotments, many of which were self-built using found and recycled materials. The sheds were much more then just tool storage; they were private spaces which housed the social life of the allotments. The sheds provided on the new site are small and can not easily be inhabited in the same way. Additionally they are temporary and many people don't want to invest too much into them. Nevertheless some of them have been customised using the same resourceful techniques. Hassan has extended his and even added a covered porch from re-used materials using the skills at his disposal.

When the weather clears up a bit and the spring make itself felt, Tak and I will visit Hassan at his allotment and get to meet the famous barbecue made from a disused MOT machine, his birdhouse and - of course - his shed.

Tak is a keen shed builder himself and as I dropped him off at his house he showed me the shed he build for his kids made from old windows (pictured above). All across his estate the steel frame windows were replaced with plastic UPVC double glazed one. He rescued some of the old windows from the skip.

E20 Needs You

The E20 Fishing Club has taken over the old Lock Keepers Cottage. Mark and Pete who run the club need urgent help finishing off some planters before Wednesday (20th March 2013). If you have a few moments to spare go down to old ford lock (at the end of Dace Road next to the old Big Breakfast house) Mark and Pete will be down there Saturday and Sunday all day. They would really appreciate some extra muscle power. Several planters need to be filled with soil. The planters will eve ntually grow herbs. Its fairly urgent as it all needs to be ready for Wednesday - some funding deadline. Just drop down or email mark at: e20eft@hotmail.co.uk


Assemble the carbonised plant regulated growing system

Join us on Saturday afternoon the 16th of March for the second and conclusive part of the the Carbonised Planter workshop with Charlie Seber.

Charlie has been experimenting at his home with plant regulated growing systems. These reduce the need for watering and weeding and significantly increase the yield. This workshop will extend the experiment to Hackney Wick and will embrace techniques from the far east.

In the last workshop architect Takeshi Hayatsu introduced the Japanese method of timber scorching: a vernacular treatment developed long before paint systems, and still used in Japan today. The charred timber will both clad the planter and reference Charlie's ongoing carbon experiments.

Over the last week we have prepared the planter and it is now ready for easy assembly. Join us for a concluding workshop to set up the planter at the Cre8 Centre in Hackney Wick.

No previous building experience is required.

The workshop is part of 'Experiments in Household Knowledge' - a series of collaborations with East London ecological and environmental innovators. The project will explore and showcase unusual and inventive ways of making and experimenting. From new gardening techniques to alternative forms of energy production or innovative recycling methods, we'll be sharing a range of unique and often self-taught skills through walks, talks and hands-on workshops.

'Experiments in Household Knowledge' is a Public Works project commissioned by the London Legacy Development Corporation anticipating the opening of the new North Park Hub building in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in the summer of 2013. The project is also supported by R-urban, a two year long project establishing practices and networks of urban resilience.

The workshop will be hosted at the Cre8 Centre in Hackney Wick, who are in the midst of planning the Cre8 Arc, an ambitious self build eco-construction, which will be built re-using materials from the Olympic site.

Cre8 -The Old Baths, 80 Eastway, London E9 5JH

16th March 2013 – 3pm.

Places for this workshop are limited and RSVP is essential.
To confirm a place email mail@household-knowledge.net

A classless classroom a few feet to long

I am intrigued about this cabin set up by the entrepreneurial spirit of the e20 fishing club.

Mark described it as a classroom for the club. However he also told me that unfortunately it will need to make way as it does not comply with regulations. Apparently it is three feet longer then what is allowed.

In the spirit of knowledge creation and our interest in non institutional learning it seems a perfect space and moment in time to hold a lesson in this fleeting cabin while it is still on site.

I personally have never attended any fishing classes.

So watch this space.