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Top architects join AJ to design a tiled kiosk for London

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Zaha Hadid Architects, AHMM, Hopkins and Eric Parry to design a contemporary water-dispensing kiosk for London streets

Six leading design studios, including Zaha Hadid and Hopkins, have been invited to design a contemporary water kiosk for one of three sites in London: Soho, Exhibition Road and the South Bank.

The aim of Kiosk, an AJ event sponsored by Turkishceramics, is to create a water-dispensing kiosk that incorporates ceramic details and reflects the artistry and craft typical of the building type’s rich heritage.

‘Water kiosks have the potential to be attractive, communal landmarks as well as a useful public resource, bringing people together and offering a simple and healthy public service,’ AJ deputy editor Rory Olcayto said.

‘A kiosk dispensing free water suggests a responsible, engaged civic culture and a city that cares about the welfare of its citizens.’

All six designs will be exhibited at The Building Centre from 20 February until 14 March 2014 and will be published in a special issue of the AJ dedicated to kiosk design and the use of ceramics in architecture.

The participants


George Saumarez Smith, director, Adam Architecture


Simon Allford, director, and Will Lee (pictured), associate, AHMM


Eric Parry, principal, Eric Parry Architects


Ken Hood, partner, and Wojciech Omiljanowski, architectural assistant, Hopkins Architects


Je Ahn and Maria Smith, directors, Studio Weave


Saffet Bekiroglu, associate, and Vishu Bhooshan, architectural assistant, Zaha Hadid Architects

The kiosk: a short history

The kiosk typology emerged out of Turkish and Persian architectural cultures. One of the most famous historic kiosks, known simply as the Tiled Kiosk, stands in the grounds of Istanbul’s Topkapi Palace. This 15th century building was used as a place of rest and repose, somewhere for the sultan to relax and enjoy his garden and survey the city beyond.

Over time, the kiosk typology was transformed. This change of use emerged out of the development of charitable fountain kiosks in Turkey, paid for by the sultan or other members of the royal family to distribute water to the citizens. This type of kiosk is called a sebil.They were freestanding buildings, beautifully fashioned in marble and often featuring exquisite tilework, They began to appear towards the end of the 17th century. Following this development, kiosks began to become popular in western European cities and were adapted to dispense more than just water. By the 19th century, kiosks had become known as a building type used to sell tickets, newspapers, cigarettes, and so on.

About the sponsor

turisk ceramics

Turkishceramics is the promotion group for ceramics manufacturers and exporters in Turkey. Representing more than 30 individual companies, the group’s mission is to raise awareness of Turkish ceramics abroad and communicate the quality of Turkish ceramic tiles and sanitary ware. Ceramic production in Turkey has a long history and rich tradition, with the first ceramics being created in Anatolia over 8,000 years ago. Turkish ceramic producers are proud to continue this tradition of innovation today with a creative approach and a broad range of products for both the professional and consumer markets.

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