Maich Swift Architects has won the Architecture Foundation’s (AF’s) third Antepavilion contest with a design for a £25,000 ‘beacon’ tower at Columbia and Brunswick Wharf in Hackney, north-east London
The shortlist also featured: MISC, a practice founded by RCA students Alistair Napier and Nathan Quainoo; a collaboration between Matthijs La Roi and Simone Tchonova; and a submission by Lorenzo Iandelli and Jamie Gatty Irving.
Maich Swift’s winning ‘Potemkin Theatre’ proposal will host a programme of events on the roof of the Columbia and Brunswick Wharf site and its adjacent canal and roadsides.
The Antepavilion competition – now in its third year – invited artists, architects, designers and makers to draw up radical visions for a prominent ‘beacon’ or spire to occupy the roof of the Grade II-listed Hoxton Docks complex on the Regent’s Canal.
The £25,000 project, backed by developer Shiva, will transform a corner of the roof into a signpost for the wharf’s ‘alternative educational and experimental ethos’.
Jury chair Chloe Spiby Loh, projects assistant at the AF, said: ‘Maich Swift’s Potemkin Theatre excited us with its bold celebration of informal structures and its playful programme. We also felt it would be a very engaging project that many would find enjoyment in.’
Winner: Potemkin Theatre by Maich Swift Architects
Maich Swift proposed a timber structure, clad in colourfully painted canvas panels, which will serve as both a canalside theatre and rooftop cinema.
The two-storey Columbia Wharf and its neighbour Brunswick Wharf were originally home to the Gas Light and Coke Company, but were transformed into artists’ studios almost 20 years ago, and the complex is now known as Hoxton Docks. The two buildings, at 53-55 Laburnum Street, overlook Haggerston Baths and BDP’s 2008 Bridge Academy.
The winners of last year’s Antepavilion 2 Commission, Thomas Randall-Page and Benedetta Rogers, created an inflatable performance space from a disused barge moored outside Hoxton Docks on the south side of the canal opposite the towpath.
PUP Architects won 2017’s inaugural Antepavilion commission with H-VAC, a micro-dwelling camouflaged as mechanical plant and clad in Tetra Pak shingles.
Maich Swift will now receive a £10,000 prize along with £15,000-worth of materials and labour to deliver their scheme.
Shortlisted: Faience by Fettle Studio
Faience by Fettle Studio
Architect and ceramicist Lydia Johnson of Fettle Studio proposed a brightly coloured tiled lantern structure inspired by historic timber wharf structures. The pattern and colours of the ceramic tiles were inspired by the decorative patterns on canal boats and hung between a lattice of diamond-shaped timber frames. As part of the construction process, Fettle Studio proposed to involve a community of makers all based nearby in London.
Fettle Studio is a young multi-disciplinary design practice focused on architecture and ceramics. The company was founded in 2018 by architect and ceramic artist, Lydia Johnson, to pursue a more flexible, integrated and hands-on approach to design and craft at many scales. With over a decade of experience in housing and regeneration with practices such as Nash Partnership and Mae Architects, Lydia is building an architectural portfolio in the community, arts and residential sectors.
Shortlisted: Trojan Horse by Iandelli Irving
Trojan Horse by Iandelli Irving
Trojan Horse was a proposal for a pavilion made predominantly of unaltered full-size sheets of plywood, bound together and stacked to create thick walls. The project looked to foreground issues of waste and re-use by proposing to give away all the unused stock material to nearby creative communities as part of the after-life of the pavilion.
Lorenzo Iandelli and Jamie Gatty Irving both share an education divided between the UK and Switzerland. They enjoy approximation, pop culture and ‘putting things on top of one another’. In doing so, their work looks to find a rigour of thought, only to then contradict it with the irrational aspects of composition.
Shortlisted: Constructing Nations by MISC
Constructing Nations by MISC
This proposal was to symbolically rebuild one of Wembley Stadium’s iconic twin towers which were controversially demolished in 2003, despite being Grade II-listed. Abstracted and ghostly, the tower would be created out of a hardwood timber frame and covered in stretched fabric to create both a powerful form and intimate interior. Scaled at 1:8, the tower would have been 8m high and contain a programme of curated film screenings that foregrounded multicultural narratives in British communities.
MISC was founded by current RCA students, Alistair Napier and Nathan Quainoo, exploring projects with the central themes of collective identity, hybridity, and everyday culture, within Britain’s post-colonial context.
Shortlisted: PROTO-SELFBUILD by Matthijs La Roi + Simone Tchonova
PROTO-SELFBUILD by Matthijs La Roi and Simone Tchonova
With a background in digital fabrication for architecture and political activism, Matthijs La Roi and Simone Tchonova developed a proposal for a new type of vertical self-build to engage and empower a new community of self-builders. The final design for the structure would be developed and built through a series of participatory community workshops using their new manual for self-build.
Matthijs la Roi graduated from the faculty of architecture at the TU Delft in 2012. Since then he has worked on a wide range of design disciplines including Architecture, Urbanism, Naval Architecture and Public Art. He has a strong interest in bottom-up design methods that involve simulation, performative evaluation and self-generation algorithms.
Simone Tchonova is a Canadian architectural designer and RIBA Part 2, based in London. Simone’s design methodology aims to be active, reactive and disruptive. She works at an intersection with the socio-political and design-driven experimentation. Her work ‘criticises the mundane standardisation prevalent in architectural practice’.