Text description provided by the architects. Paleys Upon Pilers marks the spot of Aldgate and its distinguished literary resident, Geoffrey Chaucer. The project forms part of the core programme for the London Architecture Festival 2012.
The historic eastern gateway into the City of London existed from Roman times until 1761 but the site remains a strategic position in London today and stands at the beginning of High Street 2012, which leads to the Olympic Park. The Paleys also signals the change that is going to take place in this area over the next decade.
Our design has been inspired by two dream poems by Chaucer, which he wrote while resident in the rooms above the gate from 1374 to 1386. The House of Fame and The Parliament of Fowls both include images of fantastic dream-like temples of impossible materials and scale, elevated on precarious, precious structures and accompanied by walled places with City-like characteristics.
Paleys Upon Pilers is an abstraction of the uppermost room of the old gate and will speak to Chaucer’s elevated temples, while providing a focus for the public space and highlighting the extent of the old City walls.
The structure consists of a timber embroidery and will sit in the air above the busy Aldgate High Street, supported on pillars decorated with images from the illuminated manuscripts.