Biomimicry Atelier

CHUTE is an experimental housing development that utilises genetically modified bamboo grown on-site to produce building materials for retro-fitted housing in the derelict Highgate Station, inspiring new self-built communities. Crowning the northern terminal of Parkland Walk, the derelict Highgate station (featuring a listed shelter and platforms designed by Charles Holden in the 1930s) straddles Ancient Woodlands to the north and Highgate Village to the south. Chute proposes a sensitive rehabilitation of the site into self-built housing, using bamboo which has been genetically modified to sequester higher total carbon, using the RubisCo gene extracted from red algae.

Bamboo is modified in a laboratory off-site, and then transported to the site where it is nurtured in the greenhouse until the rhizome is ready for planting in site ground, retained within the track trenches to prevent uncontrolled spread and ecological damage. The bamboo is then harvested and processed on-site into building materials such as insulation, cladding, and even structural components, which are used to build, maintain, and furnish the dwelling units.

The building's design is a complimentary addition and re-imagining of the original Holden structure. Where its dramatic canopy stretches out like wings poised for landing, this design reverses it beautifully toward flight. Where it is static, this is in motion, where it uses stone, we use bamboo; where it is dark and richly rooted in the earth, CHUTE is light and anchored to the sky.

Chute offers agency for young people seeking a home and new skills, using cutting-edge sustainable technology in a sensitive and scalable way.

Yousr Ali, Landscape Architect

University of Glasgow
Veneta Salyahetdinova, Biochemistry Student

Studio Moren
Elvira Salyahetdinova, Architect
Benjamin Rosenstiehl, Architectural Assistant
Nina Firek, Architectural Assistant
Francis M Heath, Architectural Assistant