Room for London / Arctic Associates

Room for London / Arctic Associates
Courtesy Arctic Associates

The English design team, Arctic Associates has shared their proposal for 2012 Room for London, situated on the banks of the River Thames in London. A short narrative from the architects and additional images after the break.

In his poem , Composed upon Westminster Bridge, William Wordsworth describes the divine and rare experience of finding the busy city fast asleep at dawn, and defines in narrative the beauty of the moment. The scene is set in poetry and the narrative continues as an unfolding story book in a journey through the design process and installation into a response from each guest as they stay in the room and finally in the deconstruction of the room and its reconstruction to another site. A spontaneous response (as Wordsworth’s poem was) is recorded by each guest, in speech, the written word, drawing or clay model, to summarize their experience as they stay in the 2012 Room for London. If these walls could talk…

Courtesy Arctic Associates

Site Features

Courtesy Arctic Associates

The Queen Elizabeth Hall roof provides stunning vistas of the River Thames and anchors itself between both the Hungerford and the Waterloo bridges. From this vantage point, the busy city appears to be a stage for performance with Wordsworth’s vision of ships, towers and domes mirroring the modern diverse skyline. Time and seasons are referenced by the plane trees which line the south bank to the north of the site. The room allows reflection upon these views, as sunrise and sunset becomes a tempo to which guests in the room play out their role in the on-going story.

Guest’s Experience

Courtesy Arctic Associates

As guests arrive at the south bank of the Thames and make their way past the continuing narrative of performing arts, they will be taken up the walkway flanked with a roof top garden and greeted by the multifaceted facade of the Room which glistens like a jewel and crowns the top of the Queen Elizabeth Hall.

A sheltered door way opens into a lobby area inviting the entrant to leave behind imposing noise and demands and to consider a time for personal reflection. Guests are ‘asked’, by way of spaces symbolized on the wall, to leave behind their personal effects in the lobby before being presented with the above poem situated on the facing wall. Having de-robed and re-tuned their thoughts, they enter left into the Room.

An uplifting entrance into the dome reveals warm under floor heating and a light filled full height space. Sunlight playfully dances from the hexagonal lights throughout the interior space as a sundial following the times of day.  Symmetrical balances within the internal layout provide a sense of well being with entrance lobby and caretakers store corresponding to the bathroom space inclusively designed for all guests.   The space is intended for contemplation and is purposely devoid of modern entertainment. Guests are invited to relax, by sitting, eating, reading, bathing, conversation, and reflection. Internal finishes are warm, modern and uncluttered. A bath situated in the main interior space is a purposeful inclusion, as the therapeutic benefits of bathing promote time for consideration. Smart glass will enable the space to become more private at the press of a button.

The changing seasons are recorded daily and projected when dusk falls onto the convex wall situated behind the double bed. A camera will record leaf movements of the plane trees by day and provide a ‘living wall finish’ by night.  Following the metaphor of a good narrative, the room becomes a new paragraph, a fresh start, the room provides the space to continue the future in a considered direction.  At night, the room brings an elegant beauty to the Queen Elizabeth Hall roof with its own unique light display.


Room Axonometric

a. Blanks for individual structural units are cut out of sheets of perforated steel minimizing the amount of material required and the total weight of the structure. b.Blanks are folded and welded to from a self-supporting structural unit. c. Units are to be either assembled into 11 larger structural shells to be transported to site or the individual tessellated units can be site assembled. d. Each prefabricated tessellated unit is fitted with smart glazing system or a composite panel providing thermal and acoustic insulation creating protection from the elements under the dome. The shell structure transfers loads to adjustable footings  through the floor deck.


Context Render

Utilizing smart glass for openings in the skin allows guests to adjust their surroundings to suit individual comfort levels. The transparency of the glazing can be adjusted to control the amount of light and heat entering the room. During the hotter months, this will allow guests to filter out excessive solar radiation, further reducing the cooling load of the building, and improving the comfort of the room.

The room makes use of grey water from the bath and sink which is directed into the toilet to provide water for flushing. Photovoltaic Panels will be fitted onto the roofscape of the Queen Elizabeth Hall generating power for the room.

Site Plan

Image gallery

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About this author
Cite: Hank Jarz. "Room for London / Arctic Associates" 26 Dec 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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