The Ethereal Thames
by Lei Jiao
Abstract: The following is a physical site model I built as part of my work at the London-based design firm, Alexandra Steed URBAN. The initial concept was generated by Alexandra Steed, and inspired by artist Tara Donovan’s work Haze, 2003. The idea is to appreciate the origin and catalyst of London’s civilization - the River Thames - while furthering public awareness of climate change and sea level rise.
This is a 600x1800mm model following the path of the River Thames, representing the topography of London at 1:25000 scale. Primarily constructed with drinking straws, the model is illuminated by LED lights below the River Thames.
[Image 1] From above the very east end of Greater London, Rainham. The heights of the straws have been slightly exaggerated to highlight the topography.
Image by author.
[Image 2] A close-up of the Royal Docks area at the up-front, with the meanders around Greenwich & Isle of Dogs further away.
Image by the author.
[Image 3] Plan view showing the river formation. Image by the author.
[Image 4] The glass casing has surprised us with an incredible cloud-like reflection of the illuminated river. Top-right is the lovely fern in our office. Image by the author.
Published in Issue 2021
Recording & Responding Cities
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