Bermondsey Square Tree, London SE1 Building Project, Photo, English Design Images

Bermondsey Square : Urban Realm Development London

Christmas Tree Sculpture design by Sarah Wigglesworth Architects

14 Dec 2009

Bermondsey Square

‘Tree-Wheeling: Sarah Wigglesworth Architects create sustainable Christmas tree for Bermondsey Square

What do you get if you cross a Christmas tree with a bicycle? A “Tree-Cycle” – A sustainable Christmas tree made out of recycled bicycle parts.

Leading sustainable architectural practice Sarah Wigglesworth Architects has been commissioned by developers igloo to create a bespoke Christmas tree for Bermondsey Square, London, SE1.

Bermondsey Square tree Bermondsey Square Bermondsey Christmas tree
photos : Mark Hadden

The Bermondsey Square Christmas tree is composed of 35 recycled bike wheels, set on a simple structure, in the recognisable shape of a Christmas Tree.

The 35 wheels incorporated in the design are on loan from UK charity Re~Cycle who are committed to providing cheap, sustainable transport in Africa. The charity collects redundant bicycle parts to restore bicycles, which are then shipped to Africa for use by local people and health workers coping with the AIDS epidemic.

Additional reflectors which act as fairy lights (without the need for energy) were kindly donated by local cycling shops Evans Cycles and On Your Bike, both on Tooley Street and Re~Cycle.

The design has been manufactured as a kit of parts for future storage and reassembly. The structure breaks down into small elements, therefore it is easy to store on site and there is no need for transport. It will be reused every year.

Hatton Metalcraft fabricated and built the tree in one week and together with Sarah Wigglesworth Architects, Oblique Workshops and Structural Engineers Teckniker it was erected in the Square in a matter of hours.

The concept is for the wheels to be capable of moving under some form of renewable energy. Early versions of renewable energy involved people pedalling, connected to the wheels through bicycle chains, but wind power offered simplicity and speed, with each wheel acting like a tiny wind turbine attached to the end of every branch.

Sustainable design is a central tenant to sustainable investor igloo (an Aviva Investors Fund), the team behind the Bermondsey Square development. The buildings at Bermondsey Square are highly energy efficient with a communal energy plant. The mixed-use scheme benefits from a single energy centre with heat exchangers in each apartment and an adiabatic cooling system by which outside air is humidified and used to cool the circulating air. This form of natural ventilation delivers 60% reduction in carbon emissions and 50% lower running costs.

David Roberts, Deputy Chief Executive, igloo said: “The Bermondsey Square tree not only looks great; it can be used year after year. It is designed so that it can be dismantled and stored. The bike wheels will be returned to Re~Cycle and will be used to recondition bikes for distribution to Africa. We also hope its presence in the Square will contribute to a number of measures we are taking to actively encourage cycling in London. A big thank you to the team involved who generously gave their time and to all those who donated parts.”

Sarah Wigglesworth, Architect, said: “We were really excited when igloo asked us to design a sustainable Christmas tree. The team brainstormed a number of ideas during a design charette. A theme emerged, the idea of promoting green transport in the capital which relates to our cycle store, also in the Square. We are all proud of the resulting tree, and hope everyone enjoys it.”

Bermondsey Square Tree – Building Information

Architects: Sarah Wigglesworth Architects
Structural Engineer: Teckniker
Fabricator: Hatton Metal Craft
Construction team: Oblique Workshops

Special thanks to:
Re~Cycle, Evans Cycles, On Your Bike and The London Cycling Campaign

Bermondsey Square design images / information from Sarah Wigglesworth Architects

Sarah Wigglesworth Architects

Location: Bermondsey Square, London, England, UK

London Buildings

Contemporary London Architecture

London Architecture Designs – chronological list

Architecture Tours in London by e-architect

London Architecture Offices

Key London Design by Sarah Wigglesworth Architects:

Cremorne Riverside Centre, south west London
Cremorne Riverside Centre
picture from architects
Cremorne Riverside Centre – cor-ten project

Bermondsey Buildings
Bermondsey Buildings
photo © Nick Weall

The Bermondsey Square development was undertaken as part of a holistic economic, social, environmental and physical intervention delivered by igloo Regeneration, an Aviva Investors fund, in partnership with Southwark Council, the London Development Agency and the local community.

All of igloo’s investments must comply with Footprint, igloo’s Sustainable Investment Policy. This process seeks to ensure that all aspects of design are challenged to better achieve the objectives of igloo’s sustainable investment policies including whole life value, energy efficiency, environmental performance, buildability and integrity of design.

Awards: Estates Gazette Green Award for Best Regeneration Project.

igloo is committed to making Bermondsey Square a destination in terms of its community, cultural and commercial appeal. The public space and Square are incredibly important to igloo and as a result they focus on working closely both with tenants and residents to generate life and activity in the Square and hub.

Re~Cycle?s mission is to collect secondhand bicycles and ship them to Africa. Our partners distribute bikes and teach riders the skills to repair and maintain them. Our bikes also help health/AIDS workers reach remote villages and even provide an ambulance service in remote Namibia.

Sarah Wigglesworth Architects are renowned for their excellence in design, engagement and delivery. They produce sensuous, tactile and spatially rich environments, using materials in an innovative and imaginative way to deliver buildings that are loved by their occupants, are simple to use and are economical to run and maintain.

Experts in passive, low energy design and sustainability, they work closely with their consultants to integrate environmental design from the very start of the design process, and their buildings have won numerous awards including the prestigious RIBA Sustainability Award 2004 as well as RIBA Awards in 2004, 2006 & 2008 –

Bermondsey Undeground Station
Ian Ritchie Architects
Bermondsey Undeground Station
photo © Adrian Welch
Bermondsey station building

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The Shard
Design: Renzo Piano Building Workshop (RPBW)

Centre Point, tower
Richard Seifert, Architect

London Eye
Marks Barfield

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