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Competition: Antepavilion 2

The Architecture Foundation has launched an international contest for a £25,000 floating ‘Antepavilion’ at Columbia and Brunswick Wharf in Hackney, north-east London (Deadline: 28 February)

The anonymous competition – now in its second year – invites artists, architects, designers and makers to draw up radical alternative visions for a large disused barge currently moored outside the Hoxton Docks complex on the Regent’s Canal.

The £25,000 project, backed by historic regeneration specialist Shiva, will transform the 19 metre-long 1934 vessel into a floating ‘Antepavilion’ with its new function – which could be anything from sculptural to residential – to be decided by the winning team. The call for entries comes four months after the winner of the inaugural commission, PUP Architects, completed a habitable space disguised as an air vent on the Hoxton Docks rooftop.

The Ouse at Columbia and Brunswick Wharf in Hackney, north-east London

The Ouse at Columbia and Brunswick Wharf in Hackney, north-east London

The Ouse at Columbia and Brunswick Wharf in Hackney, north-east London

According to the brief: ‘The conceptual programme for the floating Antepavilion is not prescribed. Entries may be purely sculptural, structural, political or propose a real or notional function such as social, habitable or performance space. Proposals for public events to take place in the Antepavilion will need to be resourced from the overall budget or self-supporting.

‘The judges will be mindful of sustainability concerns and credit will be given to entries that, for example, make good use of recycled or renewable materials.’

The two-storey Columbia Wharf and its neighbour Brunswick Wharf were originally home to the Gas Light and Coke Company, but were transformed into artist studios almost 20 years ago and are now known as Hoxton Docks. The two buildings, at 53-55 Laburnum Street, overlook Haggerston Baths and BDP’s 2008 Bridge Academy.

Artists based inside the Columbia and Brunswick Wharf complex include sculptor Owen Bullett, Dutch artist Magali Reus and 2016 Turner Prize winner Helen Marten.

The disused barge, named Ouse, was one of two vessels created for Canal Transport in 1934 and is equipped with a diesel engine and rudder. The boat is moored outside Hoxton Docks on the south side of the canal opposite the towpath.

The Ouse

The Ouse

The Ouse

PUP Architects won last year’s inaugural Antepavilion commission with ‘H-VAC’ – a micro-dwelling camouflaged as mechanical plant clad in reversible Tetra Pak shingles.

The latest call for submissions seeks innovative visions to transform the historic working barge which is currently permanently moored at Hoxton Docks. Proposals should take account of canal bridges when proposing taller structures which may limit the boat’s movement along the network. Anonymous applications should include two A3-sized boards.

Judges include Mary Duggan, founder of Mary Duggan Architects; writer and curator Emily King; Theo Molloy of PUP Architects; Beth Hughes, head of architecture at the Royal College of Art; and Shiva founder Russell Gray. A site tour will be held on 4 February.

Up to five shortlisted teams will each receive a share of a £3,000 fund and work with structural engineer AKT II to develop their scheme’s realisation and construction strategy during the competition’s second phase.

The overall winner will receive a £10,000 prize fund along with £15,000 worth of materials and labour to deliver their scheme.

How to apply

Deadline

The deadline for applications is 28 February.

Contact details

Antepavilion
55 Laburnum Street
London
E2 8BD

Email: admin@antepavilion.org
Phone: +44 (0) 20 7378 0707
Fax: +44 (0) 20 7378 0404

Visit the competition website for more information

Aerial Reconnaissance from Antepavilion on Vimeo.

Floating Cinema case study: Q&A with Joe Morris

The director of Duggan Morris Architects discusses lessons learned designing a competition-winning cinema on a canal boat in London 

How did your project deliver an innovative new cultural space on a former canal boat?

Duggan Morris Architect’s proposal ‘A Strange Cargo of Extra-Ordinary Objects’ was developed to produce a robust and practical, as well as highly inventive and imaginative response to the brief to create a mobile and memorable cinematic experience in the heart of the Lea Valley navigation system.

We proposed that the floating cinema should advocate films as a ‘precious cargo’ that might connect communities and use the waterways to encourage discourse between people and places through the Lea Valley and beyond. The dynamic and flexible means of projecting from the boat meant that a multitude of locations and settings could be used to screen not just larger or well-known films but films that are made by local people and/or engage with local conditions.

Floating Cinema by Duggan Morris Architects

Floating Cinema by Duggan Morris Architects

Floating Cinema by Duggan Morris Architects

The Floating Cinema was built by Turks Boatyard, Chatham, with marine engineering support by Tucker Design. Initially intended to be a lightweight structure placed upon a reclaimed barge, the final scheme included the complete new build of a bespoke barge. A hybrid engine was supplied by Hybrid Marine, allowing a combination of diesel and electric propulsion that would be powered using bio-fuel. A high-end audio system was also designed and installed by The Useful Arts Organisation.

Which architectural, material, visual and other methods did you harness in your design?

The Lea Valley has perhaps the greatest untold industrial history in the world. Centuries of pioneering invention, development and production mean that the area can lay claim to over 100 industrial firsts. Previously animated by pioneering shipbuilding, development in aviation, railway construction, the processing of chemicals and food, agriculture and electronic innovation, it is surely the special conditions offered by the natural resources of the valley, its environment and its connectivity to the Thames and beyond that was the impetus for the rich cultural and industrial legacy of the area.

Though much quieter today, the waterways that connect these landscapes will forever be associated with the transportation of goods, people and ideas through, in to and out of the Lea Valley. The waterways are therefore a fundamental part of the capital’s history and identity. It is also this precise composition of flowing waterways, open marshland and remnants of heavy industry that gives the area its unique and unmistakable sense of place. Our designs for the Floating Cinema thought to embrace this richness in its materiality, its construction and its use. A backlit glowing box revealing glimpses of the interior world, as it floats over the waterways.

Floating Cinema by Duggan Morris Architects

Floating Cinema by Duggan Morris Architects

Floating Cinema by Duggan Morris Architects

What advice would you have to contest participants on designing a new future for a former barge on the Regent’s Canal

The project needed to be delivered to facilitate a pre-defined programme of film events, and had to be delivered within extreme constraints of budget. The project team, constituting Duggan Morris Architects as lead designer, Up Projects as project lead, and a host of engineers and specialist fabricators, worked as a single and effective team unit to explore multiple dynamic options in order to reach an optimum solution of the highest quality, which we achieved.

Matters for consideration included the cost and technical factors involved in identifying, selecting, buying and subsequently converting a reclaimed barge for public use. Our team trawled the Lea Valley waterways for weeks and months, surveying and inspecting many numerous barges that would be deemed of sufficient scale to accommodate up to 25 members of the public, seated, along with support and technical staff to be on board during screenings. Our experience and research concluded that building a purpose-built barge for this use was the only viable solution in this case.

If anything, the consequential lessons learnt are that the design concepts at competition stage need to be robust and adaptable enough to respond to the changing complex circumstances of projects of this type, which by their very nature are highly bespoke, but delivered under challenging constraints.

Floating Cinema by Duggan Morris Architects

Floating Cinema by Duggan Morris Architects

Floating Cinema by Duggan Morris Architects

H-VAC case study: Q&A with Theo Molloy

PUP Architects co-founder discusses lessons learned designing last year’s competition-winning Antepavilion

How did your project deliver an Antepavilion for the Hoxton Docks rooftop?

Although a relatively small structure, HVAC’s concept attempted to engage with larger questions facing London about how creativity and architecture can encourage us to think differently about how we use the city. The pavilion attracted global attention to these questions through the coverage in the press.

H-VAC by PUP Architects

H-VAC by PUP Architects

Source: Image by Jim Stephenson

H-VAC by PUP Architects

Which architectural, material, visual and other methods did you harness in your design?

HVAC is built from lightweight, cheap and recycled materials that have an extremely low environmental impact, are easy to work with and can be deconstructed with ease. The cladding was made from 5,000 peach-flavoured ice tea drinks cartons diverted from shredding from a drinks manufacturer, which we got virtually for free. Working with the simple materials pallet we aimed to achieve a highly crafted and handmade finish to the interior that contrasted to the industrial sculptural forms of the exterior that was designed to be seen from a distance.

H-VAC by PUP Architects

H-VAC by PUP Architects

Source: Image by Jim Stephenson

H-VAC by PUP Architects

What advice would you have to contest participants on designing a new future for a former barge on the Regent’s Canal?

The competition is a unique and real opportunity to be creative but there is also the quite straightforward intention for it to be built. I would encourage contestants to aim to develop concepts that would improve and become enriched during the detail design stage rather than become compromised or reduced. Doing a lot with a little is paramount.

H-VAC by PUP Architects

H-VAC by PUP Architects

Source: Image by Jim Stephenson

H-VAC by PUP Architects

Q+A: Russell Gray, managing director Shiva

Russell Gray

Russell Gray

Russell Gray

Why are your holding a contest for a floating Antepavilion?

By making the second Antepavilion commission a marine version there is an opportunity to introduce significantly different design possibilities and challenges to last year’s competition. It was always our intention to try to avoid a repetitive competition. The canalside location of Hoxton Docks and our company’s involvement in a couple of marine projects made a water-based Antepavilion an obvious option for impressing the hallmark of diversity with the second commission.

The commission is for a construction for its own sake (or whatever other temporary objective applicants may want to pursue through its implementation). As such, the wider and more diverse the participation the better it meets its objectives.

The Ouse

The Ouse

The Ouse

What is your vision for this year’s Antepavilion?

By using Ouse, a historic working barge, as the platform for Antepavilion(M), various new elements arise as inspirations: movement along the canal with greater potential interaction with the public by repositioning, marine construction methods and materials and historic, heritage and marine-engineering considerations. The brief, like last year’s but this time even more so, is as broad as possible – anything goes as long as you can build it. Again like last year, sustainability will be a plus, but being PC or cliched-sustainable will not.

What sort of architects and designers are you hoping will apply?

The commission is emphatically open not just to architects but also to artists, designers and makers of all kinds. We don’t expect the great and the good of the architectural establishment will be applying in their droves – nor the art establishment for that matter. So yes, of course, new, emerging and undiscovered talents are most likely to be attracted to the challenge – and are enthusiastically welcomed.

The Ouse

The Ouse

The Ouse

If the commission brings fame or media exposure it will be all to the good, but an absolutely core objective is for the winner to experience the satisfaction and frustrations of hands-on construction.

Which other design opportunities are on the horizon and how will the architects/designers be procured?

I would like to see the Hoxton Docks site as an exemplar of organic development and as a counterpoint to the kind of monolithic housing developments that have been encouraged to render the London canalsides antiseptic over the last couple of decades. That may spawn opportunities for other designers on other projects but it only drives the Antepavilion very indirectly.

Are there any floating pavilion projects you have been impressed by?

No. But that is possibly only because of my lack of architectural erudition.

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