Mila Mielau

BA (Hons) Architecture (ARB/RIBA Part 1)


This project was inspired by looking at the Tower Hamlets Food Poverty Action Plan and combining it with the global issue of food waste. The action plan states that they want to help provide local and healthy food, helping people cook better for themselves and eliminating holiday hunger for school children. This projects aims to take salvageable food from the local area and up-cycle it into cheap and healthy food for the local residents and visitors. It aims to educate about food waste and how to combat it at a more local scale by handling the food transparently in front of the public and providing food workshops for those who desire to learn. 

Different ways that food waste is processed in this project are: pickling vegetables, canning fruits, freezing, freeze-drying, dehydrating, drying herbs and using stale bread to make beer. These products will then be sold on the supermarket shelves. Additional spaces are a big open plan kitchen, used for the previously mentioned processes, but can also be used for food workshops, a juice and ice cream bar, and a cafe. Here customers can enjoy already prepared meals such as soups, sandwiches and salads made from food that has been saved from supermarkets around Tower Hamlets. 

The design uses the existing building as much as possible, just like we should consume all food until it reaches its inedible stage. Additionally the idea was  to create a different shopping experience to the classic supermarket layout, partly resembling a market or food court with different stalls. All spaces can be accessed from the ramp, which also acts as the supermarket aisles. The ramp layout guides customers past all the shelves so they can see all the products, constantly changing depending on what food is being saved from landfill. 

My research also included looking into anaerobic digestion plants, which is an effective way of providing all electricity and heating needs by supplying it with all the food that could not be processed or eaten before going bad. I also looked into materials made from food waste and found a few innovative companies making very unique and interesting materials that can be used for the interior design. Potato peels can be used for a materials resembling MDF, tiles can be made from coffee grounds, eggshells or expired red lentils. 

Reducing personal food waste and helping others be more conscious about their shopping and food waste habits is something I feel very passionate about and I greatly enjoyed being able to design around this issue.

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