London’s air was once described as ‘thick as pea soup’ during the industrial revolution and Londoners were known as ‘Pea Soupers’. In 1952 11,000 deaths were attributed to poor air quality.
A young team of six architectural designers from FCBStudios won an open call competition released by the RIBA (Royal institute of British Architects) to rethink or construct community within the built environment. The team developed a proposal for the mobile installation now known as ‘Pea Soup House’.
The Pea Soup team aims to ‘construct communities’ by bringing them together through food whilst creating awareness of air pollution in cities, specifically London. Pea Soup House serves daily soup that reflects the Air Quality Index (AQI) of that day – 1 being pea soup (green and good) 10 being bad (beetroot soup), and are collaborating with King’s College who monitor air pollution throughout London.
Pea Soup House was part of a much larger exhibition called ‘At Home in Britain’ and part of the London Festival of Architecture 2016.
Since Pea Soup House last served its thick green soups in 2016, research shows that there has been a significant reduction - approx 22% - in NO2 across the City, between 2016 and 2019. Extension of the London ULEZ zones will help to reduce this further.