Kerbspace, London, United Kingdom
Potter Church & Holmes Architects

It is widely accepted that autonomous vehicles will be driving us around our cities by 2030.   Underneath there is a much darker reality –all decisions will be  made by big technology, manufacturing and property companies and this will disrupt people’s circumstances and cause the loss of transport jobs. We aim to use the inevitable change to reclaim hostile, low quality heavily trafficked gyratories in order that the release of the wider public realm is made available for “Kerbspace”.  How do we do it?
 
Solar Electric Car Helixes are the catalysts in reclaiming the street.  Designed to be logistic hubs for driverless cars, they will provide the public with an on-demand pick-up and drop-off facility from car to train or bus at key rail, airport and metro transport interchanges.   Circular in shape and designed as a double helix the building form will optimise movement and circulation both internally and around its perimeter.  Greater surface area will capture solar energy for feeding electric car batteries: batteries which can be used as power storage and fed back into the grid at peak times in exchange for low tariff secure parking spaces.  With CAVs (Connected Autonomous Vehicles) stored on continuous ramps circulating up and down, with workshops for vehicle repairs and a drop off and pick up at a welcome space at ground floor level, the Helix will provide cycle network with storage and direct safe access through its centre  linking directly to existing Cycle Superhighways.  It sounds like a scenario from The Matrix but cars as machines on which we depend for increased mobility, can play a positive part in this building type designed to release back urban realm to the individual.  
The concept is tested in a London location – Shepherds Bush.   
 
The Holland Park Helix will absorb privately owned and common CAVS, with the immediate result of the release of 5,500sqm of Kerbspace, equivalent to the size of a football pitch.  The wider impact is on the northern side of Shepherds Bush Green where a section of the Uxbridge Road could feasibly be closed to all cars with   priority given to public transport and pedestrians. Side streets would narrow to one-way access with reclaimed Kerbspace now available for soft sculpted landscape and economic generation with only laybys for drop off and collection.  
 
Our flat packed ‘Enterprise hut’ (3m x 1.9m) offers street level market stalls and storage space to local residents along Uxbridge Road, start-ups and for exchange of goods.   
 
The ‘Enterprise hut’ can be connected together for larger business generation and leased out by the local authority.
 
Homes could expand out into adjacent pockets of garden and local shops and restaurants could  extend their business beyond their front doors.   
 
The street and the pavement would become less defined with a blurring of the edges.  But the Solar Electric Car Helix not so.  Standing up tall in the urban landscape, it will be identified vertically as an architectonic celebration of technology alongside a public realm which relates to our individuality.
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