The intervention proposed by architects António Miguel Gonçalves, based in London, Antoine Pascal, based in London and Anthony Thevenon, based in Lisbon is an idea for “A Room for London,” one which latches onto the roofs of existing buildings to provide views at London’s historic skyline. Its unconventional site and form is a result of the desire to be noticed, and to provoke potential users to explore the potential of the program. More information and images on this project after the break.
The room is a body – a living organism that uses the facade and roof of the building that it occupies to perform its own task. The first principle of the design is that it is not a stationary object, and the architects imagine that it be moved to different locations, always keeping memories of its previous addresses. In this way, the current views and the previous views are one narrative of the room and its various users. The idea was derived from the surrounding brutalist architecture and the inconspicuousness with which a nuclear power plant was built in the center of London without any objections. This breach of the expected kinds of buildings that are found in the center of a city inspired the architects to design an object that seems out of place, one that seems to have invaded the space, hanging precariously off the edge of a building.
The design stands out by using sharp angles and brutal architectural tools to set it apart from the architecture on which it is situated. Using the roof of a building as the site provides a much higher vantage point than the ground and at its first proposed address provides views of the Big Ben and Saint Paul’s Cathedral which are hidden behind other buildings at ground level. It is at the north-west corner of the building and is visible from the Waterloo Bridge.
The room serves two purposes. At first it is very pronounced, both from the street level and to the users that gaze out onto London. But as the visitor moves further into the room, the room becomes a protective, insular shell, an escape from the noise and pollution of the street below. The entire fixed program is composed of a bedroom, bathroom and living room and allow the rest of the space to be devoted to flexible patios.
The sustainable aspects of the project are also a guiding principle in the kind of intervention that they are proposing. The specificity of the project is driven by it being a temporary structure that can be modified to fit on various sites. It is therefore designed to be easily assembled and disassembled. The skeleton remains the same but the way in which the two bodies are composed creates varieties in their assemblies. The bodies are made up of a simple steel structure onto which chimneys are attached. The chimneys that are oriented upward provide light, while those oriented downward provide different views. The materials to be used are frebarbricated and standardized that can be recycled to avoid waste and pollutants normally associated with a construction site.