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Serjeant Award

The Institute of Concrete Poetry

Part 1 Project 2014
Oliver Riviere
University of Brighton | UK
At the northern end of Regent’s Park John Nash’s vision of architecture, streets, vistas and greenery ends and the park meets Regent’s Canal and Camden Town. This is a place of neoclassical facades, mews, vistas, tow paths, brick and stucco. This project explores how to design buildings within this established architectural context and landscape.

The proposals are sited on land currently used as the London Zoo car park. A new terrace continues the wall of buildings edging the park, lining the Outer Circle to provide a formal end to Nash's development. A filled-in arm of the canal is reinstated across the site. The Institute of Concrete Poetry occupies four divisions of the proposed terrace providing a range of spaces for reading, writing, talking, thinking, study, gathering and celebration. Both the grand occasions and mundane events of institutional life take place within a characterful architectural setting.

The design is born from a game of consequences, playing with the themes of transition, thresholds, possibilities and combination to produce an outcome that had not necessarily been foreseen. Beginning with readings of local buildings and typologies, the work was approached in series, each set of drawings or models aiming to progress the project further towards an architecture. The series maintain a level of fragmentation or combination at each turn allowing them to ask as many questions as they answer. Reflecting on these questions and possibilities informed the next translation of each spatial or architectural element. New forms and spaces were suggested and collected, enabling some to be chosen and stitched together into the final scheme.

The Institute of Concrete Poetry aims to be a continuum of related spaces, occupied transitions rather than closed rooms. The rhythm of the terrace provides a set of limitations, an overall order of regular divisions, bays and window openings within which a collage of thresholds can take form. Thick exterior and party walls allow semi-hidden or unexpected spaces to open up. The house divisions alternate between more standard London terrace planning and eccentric spaces, an architecture of simplification in some places, expansion or fragmentation in others.

Oliver Riviere

Alex Arestis
Ben Sweeting
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