The Polylium

The Polylium is a multi-purpose community centre based in Chrisp Street Market, Poplar, that tackled waste solutions at different stages. The Polylium overall structure comprises of 100% mixed plastic waste which are collected on site, cleaned, sorted and shredded then recycled into appropriate components to be used for the construction of the building. The name of the building is simply a translation of its structural appearance and strategy, made from plastics and resembles the lilium flower through its intricate creases that allow the building to be structurally balanced and span for a great distance.

The programme within the building focuses on dealing with waste at three different stages, firstly the REDUCE stage which is translated in the form of an open space for social activities, lectures, seminars and workshops that discuss issues and opportunities surrounding waste. One space this programme will be applied to is the new connection to the Grade II listed Clock tower on site, opening the spaces within back to the community. The second being the REUSE stage which is seen in the form of a Make & Play space and a Drop-off & Exchange scrap store which encourage product and material re-purposing, creating opportunities for creative solutions in dealing with unwanted materials and products. The last stage is RECYCLING which is applied in the form of public workshops that take all the recycling waste in Chrisp Street Market district and turn the waste into new innovative products, some of which are components for construction similar to the ones used for the Polylium building. The new products circulate back into the community, like modular bricks made from recycled plastics which can be used for market stalls for example, encouraging people to rethink and find new opportunities for waste as a useful resource.

Diana Al-laham 
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