Jess Dowson

Master of Architecture (ARB/RIBA Part 2)


This project envisions a potential future for Erith which revolves around the densification of development in the face of climate change, whilst retaining as much public realm as possible. Set within the theoretical scope of a century of development, starting in the present day, we see Erith and its environs transformed, extending across the Thames and enveloping the Coldharbour industrial site, repurposing it into a new district for civic, commercial and residential development. We are already seeing the transition from internal combustion engines to electric motors, along with the development of automation technologies designed to work in tandem with humans. However, the future I see is one where automated logistics is still separated from human logistics, as a matter of efficiency and safety. Combine this with the desire for increased public realm, cleaner air and a push towards self-propelled transportation for distances under five or ten kilometres, and we see an infrastructural network transformed with a focus on pedestrian, cyclist and wheelchair access for multi-tiered urban districts. This is the premise upon which the project is built.

I have also uploaded the technology/realisation dossier which demonstrates how a basic understanding of graphic statics has been applied to three-dimensional computational form generation for the purposes of the design development through technological investigation. From this basic comprehension, I managed to generate indicative column supports as well as the support structure for a deck, leading to resin and PLA prints at scales of 1:1000, 1:500, 1:125 and 1:50. The limitations in my knowledge stem from my lack of understanding of how to manipulate the PolyFrame simulation to provide tension and compression-based forms as opposed to solely compression-based – or whether it is in fact providing those and the stipulation of tension/compression is down to the user defined external mathematics surrounding the generation of the particular force polyhedron/polyhedra. This in turn has limited my confidence in developing any particular form further, in addition to dissecting existing projects (for instance, the Saltatur research project) which coupled with being stymied by the limits of my own computational hardware has curtailed the level of design resolution I originally wished to achieve. However, despite these setbacks and limitations, what this investigation has provided me is an insight into physics-led or physics-conscious design methodology with immediate reciprocal feedback allowing for a relatively more rapid design response in the future (once my further desire for understanding of the background is satisfied). Whilst I have decided to focus on how these forms may be achieved through printed layer deposition methods, existing research has shown that this particular structural design method has a broad basis for material resolution in timber, steel, other forms of concrete, and no doubt there are more options that could be developed upon further research and experimentation.

To see the full project, as well as my other academic work, please visit my portfolio, available here.

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Jess Dowson | Architecture 6
Towards a New Babylon
Jess Dowson | Architecture 5View pdf
Realisation/Technology Dossier
Jess Dowson | Architecture 4
New Babylon Masterplan
Jess Dowson | Architecture 3
Sub-Programme Collage
Jess Dowson | Architecture 2
Coldharbour Isometric Detail
Jess Dowson | Architecture 1
Old Erith Isometric Detail
Jess Dowson | Architecture
Old Erith Market Plaza