ARCHTRIUMPH: INTERNATIONAL ARCHITECTURAL COMPETITION SUMMER PAVILION LONDON
Triumph Mention+ Shortlisted
Bethnal Green is an area steeped in the history of London. A small district which, by the end of the nineteenth century was one of the poorest slums in London and has since become one of the most vibrant places to live. During the eighteenth century many Huguenot and Irish weavers came to the area as the silk-weaving trade spread eastwards from Spitalfields. Their specialist skills, weaving the finest silk in London, put Bethnal Green and the surrounding areas on the map. This unique craft of silk weaving is infused in the very threads of Bethnal Green and helped to transform it into the place we see today. This magnificent art should be celebrated and brought back in the 21st century to celebrate its humble beginnings.
The Infusion Pavilion is sited centrally, surrounded by the key historic sites of the area’s history. Perfectly positioned between St. John’s Church and the V&A Museum of Childhood, the pavilion is entwined with the history around it. The pavilion has four key nodes which define it; from the south is the golden cross of St. John’s Church, bathed in the history of Bethnal Green; to the north is the V&A Museum of Childhood, a building swathed in history, filled with collections that focus on those who will continue the human race into the future; to the west is Cambridge Heath Road, a permanently evolving display of life, constantly changing, representing the modern day; finally the trees and greenery of the park gardens to the east represent the continuous circle of life from a seed to a full plant, again ingrained with our very nature.
The vertical planes of the pavilion take their form from the weft threads of the woven silk, creating unique views which celebrate the tapestry of the evolving world around. The pavilion is infused with the key aspects around it influencing the form. The pavilion opens up to the north and south to celebrate St John’s Church and the V&A Museum of Childhood. Each panel that shapes the pavilion’s form has a mirrored steel edge and 50x50mm mosaic tiles to each face. The tiles capture the very essence of Bethnal Green as it evolves and the pavilion becomes infused with its surroundings almost becoming invisible. The mirrored surfaces celebrate Bethnal Green by reflecting the world around it to the viewer, creating a live tapestry that constantly evolves. The mosaics further reinforce the woven nature of the pavilion, creating a regular mirrored grid, which looks like a single image from a distance, but becomes pixelatedclose up. Each individual mosaic captures a tiny part that makes up its surroundings and weaves it into the pavilion, creating a beautiful tapestry of life. The user becomes an integral part of the tapestry as well, as each person approaches and interacts with the structure; their very presence is woven into the structure through the mirrored tiles infusing with everything around them.