Making It happen: new community architecture
Hayatsu Architects have been commissioned to design a new exhibition for the architecture gallery at Royal Institute of British Architects in London. The exhibition showcases four very different examples of projects in the UK to represent new approaches to the community architecture.
It includes the Lookout by Processcraft, Old Manor Park Library by Apparata, Hastings Pier by dRMM, Coniston Mechanics Institute by Grizedale Arts and Hayatsu Architects. All projects demonstrate alternative ways with which architects approach civic projects and how their role can be expanded, to become not only designers but also contractors, makers, cheerleaders and activists.
To represent and explain the value of these projects, the exhibition space in turn becomes a new civic space, a place for interaction and making. By opening up the hidden internal windows overlooking the basement lecture theatre and the existing rooflight in the gallery, it attempts to expand the sense of connectivity to the whole of RIBA building and the surrounding city.
Floor surfaces representing the four projects are arranged along an axis drawn between the glazed entrance door to the internal window, creating distinctive territories for various activities to take place, and a vista from the entrance lobby through the gallery to the city beyond.
A soft lino floor covering, equivocal to community buildings, is encircled by the replica of Apparata’s timber partition design from Old Manor Park Library, forming the area for gathering and a place for reading books selected by leading artists and architects – the extension of a project ‘Alternative School of Economics’ set by the Rabbits Road Institute Library. The circular enclosure hosts school group visitors to gather around for workshops and meetings.
Behind the circular enclosure there is a triangular area filled with over 1300 hand painted bricks, representing The Road in Coniston by Grizedale Arts and Hayatsu Architects. The patterns on the bricks are inspired from John Ruskin’s designs for encaustic tiles. Its triangular geometrical form is a translation of Ruskin’s lace, which was introduced as a local craft in Coniston during the 19th century. A wooden workshop bench occupies the centre of the brick floor, which displays the prototypes and tools made by students from Central Saint Martins UAL, where Takeshi Hayatsu runs the MArch unit “Reworking Arts and Crafts”. It also provides a place for public decorative brick making workshops organised during the exhibition. There is a small Honest Shop which sells products made by the community of Coniston.
Adjacent to the brick floor is a raised decking which hovers over the existing gallery floor by 500 mm, elevating visitors above the gallery floor level, and offering distant views to observe the entire exhibition space and providing a seating opportunity along the edge. It represents Hastings Pier by dRMM, with a projection of an atmospheric movie shot from a drone above the pier. The edges of the decking are lined with oyster pebbles, recreating the sensation of sound from walking on the shingle beach of South East coast of England. At the end of the decking there is a notice board where visitors can pin up cards telling stories of their community and its projects.
A small mirror clad cabin is perched on a stone ledge in the gallery, providing a room for contemplation and rest. It is a direct replica of the Lookout by Processcraft in the Loch Lomond National Park. The timber lined interior and seating contains a moss lined-floor, bringing the Scottish landscape into the gallery. The slatted timber lining language of the cabin is extended to a series of stools, steps and display trays scattered around the gallery space.
Smells, sound and light are all important parts of sensory experience the exhibition creates, not only recalling all kinds of perception brought about by the four different projects, but also giving the temporary installation a true sense of place. A series of talks and workshops are organised by RIBA, extending the exhibition theme beyond the gallery space and attempting to make further impact on the new community architecture.
Exhibition design: Hayatsu Architects
Curator: Pete Collard (RIBA)
Graphic design: Dan Cottrell Studio
Exhibition installation: Jon Lloyd, Rodrigo Orrantia Gomez (RIBA), Workshop East
Central Saint Martins UAL
Rabbits Road Institute Library
Friends of Hastings Pier
All photos by Edmund Sumner
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