Portfolio Project Detail

Buoy Scott Hefner, Ross Davidson, and Derek Ackley

Buoy is a COVID commemoration that keeps our city afloat by helping us remember what was lost, prepare for future crises, and gather together in renewal.

Remember: The open site is treated as a simple grove of trees, providing respite for weary souls.

  • A semi-transparent shade canopy soars overhead, punctuated by each tree. The mesh canopy is structured on a six-foot grid – the measurement of social distancing – and each square grid of the mesh represents a Londoner’s life lost in the past year. This rigid structure represents our experiences during the pandemic – boxed in by constraints and isolated from others, always six feet away.
  • A simple linear building along the north side of the site forms a gateway to the park. Its wide façade is covered with a digital display, acting as a backdrop to the grove. This interactive screen allows neighbors to submit images of their loved ones to commemorate their personal loss from COVID. Remembering these losses collectively brings us one step closer to healing.

Prepare: Buoy is one of a network of neighborhood catalysts – hubs throughout London that provide people the help they need during crisis. This network creates a robust and resilient future cityscape. Each site-specific command center guards its neighborhood from London’s most visceral threats, including pandemic recovery, power grid failure, floods, and drought.

  • The civic open plaza provided on site will host neighborhood vaccinations and provide room for displaced persons during a catastrophe. Large cisterns underneath each tree in the grove collect runoff and contain it on-site in case of drought.
  • The neighborhood digital display keeps the community aware of changing conditions with bold messaging and visual alerts.
  • The command center’s second floor houses emergency generators to power the neighborhood. A below-grade storage vault is used for essential supplies and doubles as a safety bunker.

Gather: The rebirth of the city post-pandemic must come through communal experience – the promise of gathering and living life together again.

  • Green spaces of varying sizes surround each tree in the grove, supporting many different types of public gatherings.
  • The transformative mesh canopy overhead can be adjusted daily to dip into the parkscape and provide new and engaging ways to experience the tree grove. Patrons can climb on top of the mesh and enjoy a conversation in-the-round, or find a new perspective from above. The adjustability and flexibility of the canopy allows for the instantaneous creation of several different public space types: market shelter, concert auditorium, jungle gym, and park pavilion.

Buoy is a cultural hub that acts as a place of both solace and joy. We will never forget the tragedy of this pandemic, but still rest in the truth that our future will be better if we work, live and play together.