The Architecture Foundation has launched an international contest for a £25,000 floating pavilion at Columbia and Brunswick Wharf in Hackney, north-east London
The anonymous competition – now in its fourth year – invites artists, architects, designers and makers to draw up radical visions for a new structure standing on a series of interlocking NATO steel pontoons outside the Grade II-listed Hoxton Docks complex on the Regent’s Canal.
The £25,000 project, backed by historic regeneration specialist Shiva, aims to raise debate over the ‘authoritarian’ nature of planning decisions following an attempt by Hackney Council to have the first and third Antepavilion structures – designed by PUP Architects and Maich Swift Architects respectively – removed from the roof of the warehouse.
In its brief, the foundation confirmed the client was appealing the council’s enforcement notice, which covers several rooftop structures including the two Antepavilions. It said it remained fully committed to the realisation of the 2020 Antepavilion, which could be moored in a single location or be free to move along the capital’s canal network.
It added: ‘The 2020 Antepavilion will be moored alongside Brunswick/Columbia Wharf on a platform of NATO pontoons: a system of interlocking cuboid floats, each of 4.2m by 2.1m area. Entrants are free to configure up to seven of these units to form the platform for their proposal.
‘Entries that respond to the tension between authoritarian governance of the built environment and aesthetic libertarianism will be particularly welcomed in the face of the prevailing attempts by the council to close down the Antepavilion commission.’
The two-storey Columbia Wharf and its neighbour Brunswick Wharf were originally home to the Gas Light and Coke Company, but were transformed into artist studios almost 20 years ago and are now known as Hoxton Docks. The two buildings, at 53-55 Laburnum Street, overlook Haggerston Baths and BDP’s 2008 Bridge Academy.
The latest Antepavilion is planned to stand on a series of modular metal pontoons, which are used around the world for floating plant, machinery and site offices. The call for entries comes two years after the winners of the second commission, Thomas Randall-Page and Benedetta Rogers, transformed a large disused barge into a floating inflatable theatre named AirDraft.
Antepavilion 2 winner: AirDraft by Thomas Randall-Page and Benedetta Rogers
Source: Image by Jim Stephenson
The winners of last year’s Antepavilion 3 commission – Maich Swift Architects – created a ‘Potemkin Theatre’ on the building’s north-westernmost roof corner to serve as a local beacon. PUP Architects won 2017’s inaugural Antepavilion commission with H-VAC – a micro-dwelling camouflaged as mechanical plant clad in reversible Tetra Pak shingles.
Applications for the latest commission should include two A3-sized boards. A judging panel will be announced shortly and site tours will be held on 11 January, 24 January, and 16 February. Up to five shortlisted teams will receive a share of a £3,000 fund and work with structural engineer AKT II to develop their scheme’s realisation and construction strategy during the competition’s second phase.
The overall winner will receive £10,000 along with £15,000 worth of materials and labour to deliver their scheme. The deadline for applications is 24 February.
How to apply
Visit the competition website for more information
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