Mackenzie Thompson

Architecture with Urban Planning RIBA Part 2 MArch (Hons)

Cowgate Community Kitchen - How might the architectural intervention of a community kitchen alleviate food insecurity in Dundee?


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Cities are reliant on rural counterparts and historically the two have symbiotically co-evolved. Cities historically had to develop next to locations with adequate food provision but globalisation has severed this relationship and the city and the hinterland have disconnected. In Dundee, food bank usage has increased from 5,241 people fed in 2013 to 12,692 in 2020 (Dundee City Council 2021, p26) and  28% of primary school children rely on free school meals (Dundee City Council 2021, p18).  

Inspired by Carolyn Steel’s Sitopia and Tim Lang’s Feeding Britain, sitopia (food-place) will be explored. An exploration into the case studies of Hackney School of Food and Homebaked Anfield will explore how food production and consumption can become a viable foundation for a resilient urban community at the city, street and room scale.

Through a city-wide network of community kitchens and dining rooms, the community will be united through sitopia. They will elevate the importance of the table and will reconnect the people of Dundee to the food they consume. 

The project discovered that with contextual embedding and user participation, community kitchens may alleviate food insecurity. As educational spaces, they may empower the disenfranchised to create a more equal urban environment regarding food. The project ultimately revealed that with adequate financial backing, a community kitchen might improve Dundonians' health, relieving pressure on the NHS and our demands on the environment.

Food Production and Consumption at the Scale of the Street

A nighttime axonometric drawing showing the Cowgate community kitchen in its context. The proposal consists of four stone warehouses, a walled garden and a large glowing greenhouse. Residents line the cobbled streets to sell produce at market stalls and eat along the narrow cobbled Sugarhouse Wynd. The wider context consists of orchards and raised growing beds.

An axonometric drawing exploring the reactivation of the public realm through the luckenbooth and community kitchen.

Food Production and Consumption at the Scale of the City

A plan highlighting the network of community kitchens with conceptual collages highlighting each kitchen's speciality. The plan is primarily black and white and the sites are highlighted in red. A green linear park runs around the edge of the city centre.   The first collage is of The Market, an existing car park is converted into a growing space and microbrewery. The second collage is of Bell Street Bakery, a bakery that teaches local residents the art of bakery so that they can sell produce in the city-wi

A location plan of a future network of community kitchens. Conceptual collages reflect the key ideas and the case studies that aided the development.

Food Production and Consumption at the Scale of the Room

A large section reveals the process of food growth, processing and consumption throughout the architectural intervention. Starting from the right-hand side, the large greenhouse and seed library reveals how the project relates to Cowgate and the adjoining educational kitchen. The educational kitchen shows families and children learning to cook which is followed by people eating food in the community dining room. The drawing is colourful and full of action. The final warehouse consists of the services that m

An work in progress section exploring the process of food growth, processing and consumption at the scale of the room.