Forgotten spaces 2013

Posted on November 9, 2013 by Toothpicker There have been 0 comments

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Top left and middle: Somerset House's hidden passageway; the Lightwells and Deadhouse; Top right: 2nd price - Aquadocks by Studio Pink; Bottom left: 1st price - Fleeting Memories by 4orm 


I have always enjoyed the Forgotten Spaces competition organised by RIBA London. The competition seeks out redundant spaces across Greater London and invites innovative design proposals for re-use and regeneration. The exhibition at the Somerset House features 26 of the best proposals including the winners and a selection of completed regeneration projects across the Capital. One of the highlights of this exhibition is the exhibition space, where visitors get the chance to explore hidden passageways and coal holes; the Lightwells and Deadhouse underneath the historical building.

The exhibition reveals the city's hidden assets and potential, with some very creative work on display. I especially like the two 1st & 2nd price winners: "Fleeting Memories" by 4orm and "Aquadocks" by Studio Pink and "Museum of Memories" by Claire Moody. Competitions like this are encouraging especially because it gives smaller architecture firms the opportunity to showcase their creativity, however, if we look at what is happening in central or the City of London now, we see a very different picture.


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Main: Hidden Light ( 90 White Post Lane, Hackney Wick) by Threefold Architects; Bottom left: Museum of Memories ( 121 Westminster Bridge Road, Lambeth) by Claire Moody; Bottom right: The Gasworks ( Greenwich Gas Holder, Boord Street, Greenwich) By Patrick Judd & Ash Bonham


Councils in different boroughs across London are desperate for investment, so they are allowing foreign investors or property developers to build unflattering and soulless office high-rise or luxury flats or hotels all over London regardless of the surroundings ( the previous government was also partly to blame for this). These companies would often hire big and 'safe' names like Fosters + Partners, Renzo Piano and Rafael Viñoly ( the architect who designed the Walkie Talkie building that melts cars and bicycles from across the street!) for these projects, creativity is hardly their first priority. It saddens me to see London's cityscape being ruined by these 1980s or Hong Kong style glass buildings, so thoughtless and uninspiring! If we compare London to Paris, we will see how chaotic London looks these days! Hence, this exhibition is like a breath of fresh air, and we desperately need more creative projects to be realised rather than being 'forgotten' like the title of the competition!


Forgotten London Transformed - BBC1 from James Cameron on Vimeo.


The free exhibition at Somerset House will end on 10th November.


This post was posted in London, Exhibitions, Architecture, Contemporary and was tagged with London, art and design exhibitions, contemporary architecture