AllBuilt Project

London Architecture Biennale

Year | 2005
Location | London, UK
Client | London Architecture Biennale 2006

This Live Project consisted of the design, fundraising and construction (by students and/or others) of an architectural ‘intervention’ along the route of the 2006 London Architecture Biennale. Students worked in conjunction with a London school or community organisation to create something that will enhanced people’s experience of the place it is sited in, be this a framed view, a shelter, or other structure that references the local history or a particular quality of the site.

London is sinking at a rate of 20cm a century, while global sea levels are rising due to greenhouse gas emissions. Current predictions show that by 2030 the Thames barrier will be breached, and were this to happen, Montague Close and Southwark Cathedral would be under two metres of water within 30 minutes! In response to this situation, the installation is intended to represent the environmental issues that face the city and its inhabitants today. An interactive canopy, linking the Cathedral to the water is representative of the flowing river and will display the approximate water level on the site if the river were to flood. Made from panels of fabric, its curvature is determined by sand-filled counter weights at each end. The sand from these containers can be used by visitors to add a sand building to the intervention, whose temporary qualities will exhibit decay over the Biennale week. It is intended that these will represent how buildings constructed without consideration of the future will perish as a result of environmental and user interaction. The development of the project design follows workshops with a local school looking at sustainable building methods and personal histories of the river. Designs of buildings for the future that the children have created will be made as more permanent and durable counterparts to their perishable sand equivalents. On site, visitors will be encouraged to add flags printed with stories gathered by the children into sand castles made throughout the week. Over the course of the biennale week, this area that links the historic monument of the Cathedral and the dynamic waters of the Thames will change and develop as more people engage and participate with the installation.

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