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Archiprix 2020
Discovering London's underground landscape as a potential new nature

Nature is Under your Feet

model section of one of the nature chambers
Charlotte van der Woude
This project is part of Archiprix 2020

For those of us living in the city who are searching for nature don’t need to look far. Underneath our cities we can discover numerous hidden landscapes that offer great opportunity for special and vulnerable biotopes.

The project ‘Nature is Under your Feet’ focuses on the city of London, where twelve former tributaries of the river Thames are currently buried under layers of concrete and still flow beneath the city. For one of these flows – the former River Fleet – a sequence of six ‘windows’ is created, where the upper and lower world is connected and where conditions will arise to create special biotopes.

After turning one of the historical sewers – the Fleet Sewer – into a separated, clean watercourse, a series of six carefully chosen cut-outs have been designed, where day-light and fresh air is allowed to come in. These ‘windows’ not only let people discover the underground landscape of the city, they also provide unique conditions for a fragile nature that can flourish without the disturbance of the hectic urban life on top.

‘Nature is Under your Feet’ aims to discover if the hidden structure of the Fleet Sewer could be a chance to create a ‘new nature’. One that cannot survive the harsh city life on top, but which can facilitate a whole new type of habitat: a fragile nature to be discovered under your feet.