Installation, Projects /

Penta Retreat For Sensory Rehab

Our proposal addresses a conceptual retreat for ten people in an urban setting. During the 2020 pandemic, loss of smell or taste were common among recovered patients and not everyone can afford to travel to the countryside for a getaway. Penta Retreat situated in the heart of London is made for people to rejuvenate their senses and minds. The pentagon looks out to the city with five distinctive simulations – sound of nature, smell of plants, taste of herbs, view of the cityscape and touch of raw materials. The ten units are formed around a semi-opened sensory garden that allows for a different microclimate and ecosystem. Occupants can enjoy various sensations throughout their stay. The choice to set up a countryside-like retreat in the urban center is to make sure the retreat is made inclusive and accessible to everyone from different income and physical conditions. With off-the-grid design, every city should be able to find spaces for people to getaway.

The pentagonal geometry in both section and plan is ideal to explore 3d fabrication technique with SterlingOSB Zero boards. Different joinery systems are required to turn the OSB into different load bearing elements including skylight structure, walls, roofs, and floors. With the aim to reduce construction wastage, the pentagon with faceted surfaces take advantage of the flat OSB. All the exterior portion is covered with metal cladding and glass to provide waterproofing, but the boards are exposed for the interior to create a sense of warmth and rawness. The construction is modular to reduce on-site carbon footprint. Each dwelling unit and skylight will beprefabricated in a factory with CNC machines. The completed module and prefab concrete foundation will be transported to the site for a one-week assembly. With the addition of solar panels and waterless toilets, the project wants to be constructed with minimal impact to the infrastructure and aims to be the off-the-grid.

SterlingOSB Zero with zero-added formaldehyde respects the environment, construction worker’s health and occupant’s wellbeing. Its rawness with warm color also adds another layer of rejuvenation to the entire retreat. Ten occupants can choose to isolate in their rooms or interact in the sensory garden and outdoors. The garden can alternatively be accessed directly from the outside or from each dwelling unit. Watching rainwater going through the oculus onto the central pool is both meditative and functional. This distinctive ecosystem will give people an illusion that they have retreated from the city.

Team: Alvaro Arranz, AIA, Vicky Chan, AIA, Sam Chan, Andy Cheung, Subhiksha Bhoovarahan