Urban Oasis, London


At Macalloy, we have had the great pleasure of being involved in the construction of many of the world’s most incredible and iconic structures. However, they don’t get much more exciting and unique than the award-winning eco-sculpture Urban Oasis.

Designed by the cutting-edge architect Laurie Chetwood, this 12-metre-high kinetic structure is designed to demonstrate sustainable energy production within an urban setting.

The sculpture mimics the design of a growing flower, with photovoltaic ‘petals’ which open when exposed to the sun. Macalloy supplied the internal steel components which are integral to the structure.

It uses light to generate power, with additional power sourced from a hydrogen fuel cell and wind turbine. It also harvests rainwater for irrigation and cooling, making it fully self-sufficient. At night, the whole structure is transformed into a spectacular light sculpture.

The sculpture was originally presented to the residents of Clerkenwell Green during London’s Architectural Biennale 2006, and as part of National Architecture Week. The aim was to create a 21st century urban version of a tranquil, desert oasis, enabling people to get away from the noise, pollution and bustle of city life, and giving them a quiet space to relax and reflect during their busy day.

The base of the structure is surrounded by five hooded ‘pods’, big enough to house a person in each. The pods will provide tranquil isolation for the occupants, with cleaner, cooler air and relaxing sounds. Surrounding the pods will be five ‘roots’, which hold the structure up.

Traditionally, an oasis offers a refreshing meeting place where travellers can rejuvenate, get water, share information and be entertained. The five roots are themed to provide these same oasis ingredients. The first is a garden of aromatic plants, providing a lush environment in the heart of the city. The second stores collected rainfall. Epitomising the definition of an oasis, this water is also used to irrigate the plants and cool the air in the pods. The third embodies a meeting place for friends to gather and chat, or sit on the benches skirting the giant ‘root’. The fourth shelters a space where passers-by can come and get information, while the fifth exposes a space for performers to take to the stage and entertain.

The Urban Oasis structure is mobile and adaptable for use in different locations. It has featured at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show as well as locations in Manchester, Birmingham and Cannes, France. The sustainability agenda has moved on hugely since the creation of the Urban Oasis in 2006, and increasingly, we are appreciating the value of sculptures and structures which create awareness of our environment and how we can change it for the better.

At Macalloy, we’re certainly keen to be involved in more of these innovative, sustainability-led projects and the beauty of our products is that their flexibility allows for almost limitless creativity.

If you have a project you’d like to talk to us about, please get in touch.