Highly commended

Sam Hecht

Watercycle Pavilion

Greenwich, London

December 2000

The sheer naffness of its contents and crass business inability of bureaucrats and businessmen who manage it, have made the Millennium Dome at Greenwich a laughing stock. But its notoriety should not detract from some very important achievements. The peninsula has been reclaimed from being a polluted waste, and after all, the Dome itself is an imposing affair, with structure and services economically and elegantly organized.
The little Thames Water pavilion snuggles in the shadow of the Dome, and is part of an exploratory environmental control system. The pavilions all glass structure, with its transparent mullions and ceiling joists is perhaps no longer very radical: we have had several varieties of such transparent sheds over the last decade. But it is fascinating as part of an experimental environmental system.
Rain on the roof of the Dome is channelled into 12 hoppers, through which it passes, like grey water from hand basins and spring water from a borehole through reedbeds which cleanse it naturally. Symbolically, it is sprayed onto the roof of the glass pavilion, in which are displays of Thames Waters treatment systems. The cleaned water is used to flush the lavatories which serve the Dome. Sludge from the sewage treatment plant, and from others over Thames Waters area of activity, is used to generate methane, or becomes a solid fuel, both burnt to make electricity to power the Dome.
The jury wanted to celebrate the pavilions environmental thinking (both symbolic and actual) as much as its transparency.

Contact: Sam Hecht