BY JAIMIE SHORTEN - AUGUST 2020
"SHARKS!, the winning proposal by architect Jaimie Shorten takes inspiration from the Headington Shark, the full-scale fibreglass sculpture of a shark that crashes into the roof of a terraced house in suburban Oxford. Installed in 1986, the Headington Shark was the subject of a prolonged campaign by Oxford City Council to force its removal. Eventually, the case was assessed by the Department of the Environment in 1992 which decreed that it could remain, noting that ‘the shark is not in harmony with its surroundings, but then it is not intended to be in harmony with them’.
Applicants to this year's Antepavilion competition were invited to make proposals that referenced Hackney Council's ongoing campaign to demolish the previous Antepavilions that have been built at Hoxton Docks. The winning scheme by architect Jaimie Shorten comprises a group of full scale replica sharks which will be installed in the Regents Canal. A live broadcast via Zoom featured performances and conversations from the launch night."
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 metres by 2.1m area. Entrants are free to configure up to seven of these units to form the platform for their proposal.
Two of the available floats are ‘swim ends’ with raked leading edges for easier towing through the water. Entrants are free to propose a particular location alongside the Hoxton Docks building, or alternatively to utilise the mobility of the modular pontoon system. As the structure will be afloat adjacent to AirDraft, proposals might utilise that relationship but their projects may also stand entirely independent. Similarly, proposals may interact with the wharf buildings to a greater or lesser extent.
An ambition to expose and question the authoritarian workings of our planning culture has always been fundamental to the Antepavilion commission so it was not altogether a surprise when, on 23 October 2019, Hackney Council served an enforcement notice against the 2017 Antepavilion, HVAC, and the 2019 Potemkin Theatre (as well as other elements of the Brunswick/Columbia Wharf roofscape). An appeal against that notice was lodged with the Planning Inspectorate on 3 December.
Hackney is currently (as of late December) refusing to engage on the specifics of its objections to the rooftop structures or explain what public benefits they are aiming to secure by having them removed. This process will be ongoing for some time and relevant informative documents arising in the Appeal process will be published on this site for entrants to read. As a case study in planning enforcement it should be informative to entrants in the 2020 Antepavilion commission but also to a wider audience, particularly of architects and planners. Whatever the outcome of the current dispute, we remain fully committed to the realisation of the 2020 Antepavilion.
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. A video commentary on how local planning decisions have re-shaped the canalside environment of the Antepavilion site along the Regents Canal will be added to resources for reference in the next few weeks.
BY STUDIO EMILE
“Our proposal tries to link two sides and enter into a discussion. The pavilion takes its shapes from seven pontoons. Placed in a line, they create a long pier on which we can walk, sit and stay. With the movement of two hinges, the pavilion expands and retracts teasing both sides of the canal, bridging across to attract passersby. A canopy, spanning in between the steel structure unfolds as the elements move in different positions creating a covered Piazza over the water. The long pier should become a place of contemplation, discussion and a pavilion for distraction.” Studio Emile is Barbara Thüler, Charles Bédin and Elseline Bazin."
BY STICKS AND STONES - BECKY CHIPKIN AND JACK SWANSON
"The project proposes a new floating community garden on the Regent’s Canal. The walled garden (Hortus Conclusus) provides intimacy and shelter for the activities within whilst allowing partial openness - the wall itself is raised delicately on masonry plinths offering glimpses of the garden from outside. The wall acts as a kind of ‘billboard’ to the transient joggers, walkers and cyclists along the canal. The project is intended to be built and run with genuine community participation from local residents.”
BY AKASAKI VERHOEVEN
"Modularity is found in the 1:2 ratio of the pontoons, a ratio required for the traditional tea room Tatami-mat which is fundamental to tea drinking in Japan. The Tea House floats detached from the mainland, circumferencing a pool of water which motivates its introversive nature and beckons fluid circulation around the pavilion.The roof opening allows the presence of English rain to be felt inside, while lounging on recycled chip foam. The chains dangle from the edges of the gutters, appearing as a light and ornamental fabric, but function as guides to carry down drops of rain from the steel gutters to the canal."
“The London Borough of Hackney’s Council issued in 2019 an enforcement notice requiring the removal of the well-known Antepavillion rooftop structures, as well additional gravitating elements of the Wharves. 'Unacceptable by virtue of their size, location and design’, the Council furthermore describes the structures as ‘incongruous’ forms of development which adversely affects the character, appearance and architectural integrity of the host building and the conservation area.
Between rebellion and coalition, disharmony and unity, opposition and integration, sur les toits inserts itself as the story's iconic protagonist. Silent yet telling, the symbolic proposal escapes the enforcement claims whereas emblematically embodying Antepavillion’s one. sur les toits (on roofs) is no more than, yet above all, an-architectural claim."
Andy Groarke (Carmody Groarke Architects); Bushra Mohamed (David Kohn Architects); Russell Gray (Founder of Shiva Ltd); Madeline Kessler (Curator of the 2020 British Pavilion at the Venice Biennale); Ted Swift (Maich Swift); Ellis Woodman - (Director of the Architecture Foundation); Gerry O’Brien (AKTii Engineering)