THE ORBITAL FOREST
by April Glasby
This project explores the edges of the M25, London’s Orbital Motorway, transforming the verges, strips of neglected woodland and abandoned wasteland into a productive forest landscape. The forest becomes an escape from the city for casualties of urban life who reject societal norms and establish an alternative community of nomads, maintaining and foraging the biodiverse forest as they travel the 117-mile loop. The nomadic community build, design and live in bothies in the forest, simple shelters intended for short-term stays. The project has focused upon developing the design strategy for the bothies, as well as a proposal for overhauling the petrol stations around the M25. The stations become the intersection between motorists and the nomadic community, who use these locations to sell foraged produce. By 2050, half of all cars purchased will be electric, this project looks to the future, turning the stations into electric vehicle charging stations. As they take time to charge, the scheme encourages time for rest, encouraging walking in the forest and time spent in the markets. The project, therefore, exists at many scales, from the London-wide scale as a vision for the future of the M25 through to the personal scale of the one-person bothies.