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Unit 2 – Kingston University

[Top 10 London Units: Part 2 level] Tutors: Adam Khan, David Knight, Bernd Schmutz

Public houses, are shared, negotiated places that occupy a vital middle ground between home and the public realm. This year, Unit 2 studied pubs in the belief that they carry valuable lessons for the design and character of community buildings. We draw attention to the neglected grey area between housing and public space.

We surveyed six pubs in order to capture and describe their atmosphere, rules, texture and occupation, as well as their relationship to adjacent public spaces. We then made furniture and fittings for each pub: seats, screens, wallpapers, ashtrays, tables. Each piece translates found qualities into something functional, characterful, and befitting the atmosphere of its place, whilst opening each pub up to its street or landscape.

Lessons learned during the pub studies were critically applied in the design of shared community buildings in Stepney, East London: a hall for Stepping Stones Farm, the refurbishment and extension of Arbour Youth Centre, and a new mosque and community centre for Shandy Park.

Unit references: Colin Ward, PV Jensen-Klint, Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates

Student projects

Carlos Dos Santos (school nomination for RIBA Silver Medal)

Carlos’ proposal is for a mosque and community centre in Shandy Park. The building combines the grandeur of collective prayer with more informal, domestic spaces, and provides new clarity to the park and adjacent public buildings. Earlier in the year, Carlos studied the Grapes pub in Limehouse, a set of rooms that deal with two radically different ‘fronts’ - a quiet back street and the expanses of the Thames. His proposal similarly resolves extreme conditions through deceptively simple means, wrapped in a skin of intricately detailed brickwork.

Pub study produced with Alexandra Bailey, John Henden and Thomas Sellers.

Yemi Aladerun

For the Olde Mitre in Holborn, Yemi designed a turned ash and tulipwood ashtray derived from found profiles - including a pint glass at hand height - and the thickly-layered decorative surfaces of the pub’s facade. The ashtray sits alongside other movable furniture pieces in the alleyways around the pub. Her final proposal is for an extension to the Arbour Youth Centre, which also explores the expression of wood. The building’s language is derived from cabinet making, panelling and picture framing, resulting in a form composed of deep reveals, framed views and turned timber screens.

Pub study produced with Stuart Darling, Alex Jenkins and Rob McCarthy

Liidia Grinko

Liidia’s work is concerned with the life of architecture and furniture after it is ‘finished’, and particularly with the transformative potential of repair and renovation. Having documented damaged, repaired and repurposed elements in the Wenlock Arms, she performed her own repair on a bollard outside, reinventing it as a table for two drinks. This interest carried through into studies of the ‘patching’ of tiled facades in Porto, and ended up in the repair of the Arbour Youth Centre.

Pub study produced with Ming-kun Huang, Sharareh Khodabaksh and Mario Soustiel.

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