The Soupometer

Cups of soup lined up at Pea Soup House, an installation linking soup to air quality.

How would you know whether the air quality is good or bad in London ? From the colour of your soup of course…

Staff and visitors at the central London headquarters of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) are being treated to daily free soup from the Pea Soup House, a pop-up installation in the lobby that serves colour-coded soup which matches the UK government’s Daily Air Quality Index (DAQI).  Flavours start with pea soup (green for good air quality) then move to yellow butternut squash or red pepper and chilli as the air gets worse.

“People might come to Pea Soup House not knowing much at all about air quality, or just say ‘free soup, brilliant’ – but that for us is a way into a wider discussion,” says architect Chris Allen. “The soup means people can connect that day to air quality and start to make those links themselves,” explains researcher Joe Jack Williams.