the world's most visited architecture website
i

Sign up now and start saving and organizing your favorite architecture projects and photos

Sign up now to save and organize your favorite architecture projects

i

Find the most inspiring products for your projects in our Product Catalog.

Find the most inspiring products in our Product Catalog.

i

Get the ArchDaily Chrome Extension and be inspired with every new tab. Install here »

i

All over the world, architects are finding cool ways to re-use run-down old buildings. Click here to see the best in Refurbishment Architecture.

Want to see the coolest refurbishment projects? Click here.

i

Immerse yourself in inspiring buildings with our selection of 360 videos. Click here.

See our immersive, inspiring 360 videos. Click here.

All
Projects
Products
Events
Competitions
Navigate articles using your keyboard
  1. ArchDaily
  2. Articles
  3. 'House of Flags' Installation / AY Architects

'House of Flags' Installation / AY Architects

'House of Flags' Installation / AY Architects
Courtesy of AY Architects
Courtesy of AY Architects

Installed on Parliament Square, London, the ‘House of Flags’ is a flexible, demountable, and totally reconfigurable architectural intallation conceived as a gigantic ‘house of cards’ in the Eames’ spirit. The project was designed by AY Architects after an invited international design competition initiated by the Greater London Authority for the Mayor of London’s ‘Wonder Series of Incredible Installations’. 206 panels depict the flag icons of the nations and combined create a collaged image of the world. All together they make up a large building jigsaw, a united ‘house’ of symbols, shimmering colors and perforations. More images and architects’ description after the break.

The assemblage  made the perfect photographic backdrop for thousands of people who visited it daily and took their portraits in front of it. House of flags collates politics, graphics and architecture into one gesture. The exterior of the installation is a complex layering of color graphics made up of the unique iconography of each flag, while the interior space has a unified monochrome presence created by the natural finish of the plywood panels.

Courtesy of AY Architects
Courtesy of AY Architects

The installation is a free-standing structure measuring 17m long x 8m wide x 4.5m high. It is made of 206 FSC certified birch plywood panels and over 400 laminated connection components, of which there are 8 different types. It stands on 42 pre-cast concrete foundational blocks. The graphic of each flag was printed directly on the plywood panels using a large format UV flat bed printer, which resulted in a crisp image read through the timber grain surface. The back of each flag panel was left to show the natural material finish. The panels are CNC cut and the majority of them have cut-outs of symbols and perforations. They are stacked like a house of cards with alternating orientation from row to row. The top panels are more perforated and lighter whereas the bottom ones are more solid and therefore heavier.

Courtesy of AY Architects
Courtesy of AY Architects

The structure is flat-pack, demountable and entirely reconfigurable. As a kind of large three-dimensional puzzle it can be reinstalled in new configurations and flag hierarchies of various shapes and sizes. On Parliament Square the untreated plywood finish of the internal elevations plays with the weathered limestone of the houses of parliament backdrop. At the same time the vibrant colors of the external elevations suggest an inversion of the exuberant colors of the interior of the houses of parliament.

Courtesy of AY Architects
Courtesy of AY Architects

During the day the structure works as a shadow modulator with the shadows of its perforations shifting from east to west. When the sunlight is sharp soft layers of color light, produced by the vibrancy of the color-printed panels, are reflected on the natural plywood panels next to them. At night the structure is lit from within, glowing as an inhabited ‘house’ and showing the emblem cut-outs appearing as silhouetted figures.

Courtesy of AY Architects
Courtesy of AY Architects

The assemblage on Parliament Square presents the flags in alphabetical order, never touching or intersecting, and carefully considered so that certain cut-outs are not offensive or seen from the back. AY Architects worked with the Flag Institute, the world’s leading research and documentation center for flag information, to determine how the design of the panels and their connections could respect these protocols.

Courtesy of AY Architects
Courtesy of AY Architects

View the complete gallery

About this author
Alison Furuto
Author

See more:

Articles
Cite: Alison Furuto. "'House of Flags' Installation / AY Architects" 03 Oct 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/275727/house-of-flags-installation-ay-architects/> ISSN 0719-8884

You've started following your first account!

Did you know?

You'll now receive updates based on what you follow! Personalize your stream and start following your favorite authors, offices and users.