Back to Content

Stephen Yiavasis — Liquid Futures

Liquid Futures — A research institute for sustainable clothing manufacture. By Stephen Yiavasis.



Crossness Sewage Treatment Works, Bexley, London



To take an existing underground reservoir in East London and, through precise removals and additions, create space for the research, design and manufacture of sustainable clothing.



To promote and reinforce the aim of the fashion industry (responsible for eight per cent of global carbon emissions) to move towards a more circular economy.



The new architecture acts as a set of components that rest against, frame and structurally reinforce the reservoir’s existing Victorian brick construction. Its modular configuration applied to the reservoir’s gridded layout facilitates a radically adaptable floor plan necessary for the required programmes of teaching, studio space, exhibitions and productions.



The proposal supports the research of sustainable textile technology, while making a publicly welcoming space that engages wider society to challenge our consumer behaviour and become more considerate of fast-fashion’s impact on the planet and people.

Alternating gardens form an architectural framework or limit for adaption to occur in between without compromising openness and access to daylight. Lightweight service blocks are portable for reconfiguring internal space.
The architecture is a set of minimal components – of in-situ concrete roofs, of glazed walls, and of suspended floors – that rest against, frame and reinforce the existing construction.


A strategy of precise removals and additions provides rich and flexible environments for the research, design and reflection upon the sustainable manufacture of clothing.

The architecture allows certain configuration typologies for different uses: The “Meeting Typology” leaves vault walls unwrapped between different tenants, creating a negotiated space between them to share.


The architecture allows certain configuration typologies for different uses: the “Greenhouse Typology” inserts a retractable polycarbonate roof between rows, forming a microclimate for cultivating plant-based textile fibres.


This model depicts a Victorian sludge tank adjacent to the site. Its platonic, modular construction mirrors the reservoir’s repetitive brick arches, and the component-based architecture of the proposal.
The site axes align with an existing Grade I Listed museum, inviting visitors to proceed through the site and engage with the processes of sustainable clothing production.


The project seeks to mirror the fashion industry’s growing ambition toward a circular economy, by respecting, understanding and making use of existing materials, rather than starting from scratch.


Architectural components structurally and emotionally reinforce the existing construction and are precisely scaled and specified for longevity to ensure that the need for new materials is kept to a minimum. 


Further work

Contact details