Today the UK is one of the largest producers of offshore wind energy in the world. This produces a large amount of waste turbine blades that currently end up buried in landfills as the material is not easily recycled. While renewable energy continues to gain ground over fossil fuels in Europe and beyond, it is also predicted that by 2050 we will be dealing with more than 43 million tonnes of blade waste, which will contribute to serious environmental problems unless proper solutions can be found.

With COP26 hosted in the UK and almost two centuries down the line since the Great Exhibition, Windflower on Exhibition Road repurposes a 50m long decomissioned wind turbine blade into urban furniture and street planters, raised from the ground to attract wild pollinators like bees nested in Hyde Park, while hopefully demonstrating what is possible in terms of construction and infrastructural upcycling as well as inviting visitors to increase their apetitite for greener urbanism, that meaningful policy can enable.

Windflower, London, 2021          
Exhibition Road, London SW7 2PH
For: Goethe-Institut, Discover South Kensington, London Festival of Architecture
With thanks to V&A , Science Museum, Imperial College London, ORE Catapult

Collaborators: Adam Harris, urban rewilding architect

Fabrication: Design and Making

Featured in: Wallpaper magazine, ICON magazine, Design Week, V&A blog, London Architecture Diary, Discover South Kensington, New London Architecture, South Ken Green Trail

The 2050 global climate action forsees a clean and efficient future in the way we build our cities and our environments. Not only do we need to follow new protocols for putting new infrastructures and homes up, but we need to radically re-think how to re-use our existing buildings and upcycle components. We need to stop looking at products which have reached the end of their lifecycle as waste and start to look at them as resources that we can use.

Windflower aims to offer a glimpse into the future of wind energy, to educate the public and the wider community visiting the major museums, cultural or academic institutions on this historic boulevard, to raise awareness and ultimately to offer a solution for the afterlife of these large power-producing structures.

Windflower installation views © Luke O'Donovan 2021