Wednesday23 August 2017

Architecture students’ Olympic designs to decorate London

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Barlett, London Met and Westminster reveal innovative ideas

A giant tea machine, metal trees and a gazebo that grows biofuel are to be built in London as part of a city-wide series of nine architectural pavilions during the Olympics.

Four London architecture schools were chosen to design the pavilions after answering a design brief issued by the mayor’s office calling for “temporary architectural installations” costing up to £100,000.

Teams of students and lecturers were asked to submit at least three ideas. Nine ideas were then chosen as part of a “city dressing programme” aimed at sprucing up the city for visitors during the games.

The Greater London Authority said it wanted to showcase “the top educational institutions, the amount of talent the city attracts and the world-class design that derives from them”.

The UCL Bartlett School of Architecture has been commissioned to design four of the pavilions, while the University of Westminster is designing another three.

London Metropolitan University is working on a series of “conversation pieces” around its campus in Tower Hamlets and Central Saint Martins has designed an interactive wall installation to be placed outside King’s Cross station — asking visitors to spin balls linked to musical notes in an attempt to create their own songs.

Other ideas include a Universal Tea Machine, designed by the Bartlett, inviting passers-by to pull a sequence of handles in the right order, resulting in a perfect — or awful — cup of tea. A series of metal trees displaying stories of London’s heritage alongside arrows pointing to the Olympic Stadium in Stratford is another of the school’s concepts.

Westminster’s installations include carousels depicting a selection of London’s key buildings in “collaged streetscapes”. The London Dresser is another tribute to the capital’s architecture, containing a coffee shop complete with chairs replicating the city’s most famous buildings.

London Met’s proposals focus on promoting engagement between the public and the games. Ideas include a stand offering a free shoeshine in return for being photographed and interviewed.

All designs will now be submitted for planning approval before being built in time for the Games.

The nine architectural installations that will liven up the streets are part of a £32 million Look & Celebrations programme.

Around £9.5 million will be spent on “city dressing”. Architecture pavilions are just part of this — Olympic-branded bunting, banners and flags will adorn streets and buildings while a series of walking trails will guide tourists through the city.

Funded by Londoners’ council tax contributions, the programme is being run by the GLA with Locog, the Games’ organiser.

The pavilions

UCL Bartlett School of Architecture

Universal Tea Machine - An adding computer that celebrates the British appetite - both for technological innovation and a good old cup of tea.  

Bloom - A social toy and collective “gardening” experience that seeks the engagement of people to construct fuzzy bloom formations throughout the city. 

Alga(e)zebo - A large decorative canopy-structure with ornamental patternisation of the surface creating delicate, elegant and ever-changing light and shadows effect. 

Tr(ee)logy - Landmark style metal installations with a tree like crown, carrying London’s heritage stories of the area installed.  

Westminster University

London Dresser - A coffee bar and large scale cabinet display case containing London’s architectural crown jewels formed as beautifully crafted seats.

Aurora - Aurora takes the plastic ‘Hula Hoop’ and explores how this can be manipulated as a struc­tural material in order to create an equally playful form.

Streetscape Carousels -  Cylindrical small pavilions with panoramas showcasing streetscapes depicting a selection of the key buildings particular to each locale 

London Metropolitan University

Conversation pieces - Small event-creating wooden objects engaging performances and interaction with the public. The conversation pieces will be used during the morning and evening rush hours and at lunchtime.

Central St Martins

Songboard - A multi-sensory interactive wall installation located at the main entrance of King’s Cross Station. The board will invite passers-by to spin balls which will trigger a musical note that can be ‘played’ in sequence to create certain songs.



Readers' comments (5)

  • I am Alex

    Struggling to make sense of any of the text in The Bartletts descriptions...

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  • really like the London dresser, the presentation of it. reminds me of those wood Muji things they did a few years back. I wonder if that was the inspiration?

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  • Stewie

    Whose going to want to visit Tower Hamlets during the games let alone have a 'conversation' there, I thought muggings were the only thing that happened there. I mean is someone visiting the games going to suddenly think 'ooh I know lets go visit Tower Hamlets. Anyway, don't really care for the ideas brought up above, particularly the Bartlett, all seem rather dated in the way they are still thinking about architecture, its just been soo done. The canopy structure looks more like some sort of fly-over and just picking out light & shadows as a particular issue and not part of a cohesive part of a whole thought through design is just too one dimensional. The tea machine idea is just crass, who would want an awful cup of tea anyway? The Bartlett really has failed to move on these ideas are very unoriginal and unexciting. Think the Mayor of London has made a mistake looking their for top talent and world class design I can't see any of it in what is shown here.

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  • Stewie you'll do anything to bash the Bartlett.
    The tea machine sounds awesome. As does the London Dresser.

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  • Stewie if you read the London Mets statement it says the pavilion will be used during morning and evening rush hours, which clearly suggests its for workers at Tower Hamlets not for people visiting the olympics.
    I was part of one of Westminster groups and we were given two weeks notice during our final crit periods, and therefore could only allocate a day at a push. The brief was also strict. So criticising the schools and their 'world class talent' based on this project is a bit harsh!

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