Ilford Community Market  - Interrobang
Ilford Community Market  - Interrobang
Ilford Community Market  - Interrobang

Supported by the Good Growth Fund – a £70 million city-wide regeneration programme – Interrobang are working with Mercato Metropolitano to create a vibrant market in the heart of Ilford, east London. The hybrid scheme comprises a community covered food market at ground floor level with a hydroponic farm housed in polytunnels on the roof.

The new community market and hydroponic farm celebrates food as an important catalyst for conviviality and social cohesion by bringing together natural, traceable and unadulterated products from across the world, presented on recycled and natural serving-ware.

The final scheme is the result of tightly integrated structural, building services and spatial design - evidencing the benefits of transdisciplinary architecture and engineering.

Circular economy principles were employed from concept stage through to detailed design and ultimately the running of the market and farm. The building, which will occupy a neglected surface car-park in Ilford Town Centre for five years, is designed to be dismantled and reconfigured on future ‘meanwhile’ sites. The timber structure is detailed to avoid below-ground foundations such that at the end of its residency in Ilford, it will leave the site undamaged and free from large wasteful, energy intensive concrete foundations. Waste from the hydroponic farm and market will be processed in an on-site anaerobic biodigester which will provide hot water and electricity to and reduce reliance on the grid. The farm will be lit using grow lights which will also be switched on at night to benefit from cost effective energy.

Externally, the L shaped building forms an open ‘public square’. Framed by the town hall, main entrance of the market and the surrounding pedestrianised footways, the public space will add to the rich urban context and will provide a missing link in the cultural quarter of Ilford. Internally, the floor plan allows for a rational modular design, delivering a central walkway with food stalls on either side. The cafe/shop and brewery located at each end of the market provide points of navigation from the street and accommodate two level access entrances.

Ilford community market and hydroponic farm is an inclusive, exciting and innovative facility which will support small businesses, have tangible and lasting benefits to the surrounding community and set a precedent for sustainable urban markets of the future.