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TDO unveils Peckham car park pavilion

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TDO Architecture has completed a temporary pavilion at Frank’s Cafe on the rooftop of a car park in Peckham, London

Commissioned as part of the annual Bold Tendencies programme, the corrugated galvanised steel structure will be used as a base for artist in residence James Bridle to launch a military balloon from the roof of the car park.

Built on the tenth floor of the car park opposite Frank’s Cafe bar designed by Practice Architecture, the pavilon consists of three large circular buildings, used as a balloon hangar, workshop and exhibition space, arranged around a raised platform.

Throughout the summer the balloon, which is loaded with cameras, will ascend daily and a series of evening talks will be held in the workshop.

Architect’s view

Doug Hodgson, partner, TDO Architecture

It has been an exciting challenge to be part of this collaboration between architects, artist and engineers, to design a 150m² gallery pavilion to house a large, military-grade helikite balloon alongside space for the artists’ residency and talks this summer. This had to be delivered from concept to opening night within 10 weeks.

The design developed out of researching large scale aeronautical shelters and rapidly deployable structures, from Zeppelin Hangers to Buckminster Fuller’s Dymaxion Shelter, leading the design towards appropriating industrial structures that were assembled on site in a matter of days.

We wanted to address the panoramic skyline view by channelling views vertically towards the Balloon in flight. The positioning of the three circular structures creates a series of interlinked spaces framing views outwards towards the skyline while the spaces between the corrugated walls emphasise the sky above.

The exposed nature of the site and restrictions from penetrating the rooftop waterproofing led to a structural solution by engineers Lyons O’Neill to utilise sandbags to ballast the pavilions to the rooftop while referencing the practices of balloon flight.

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