a blue gallery for Harringay

By Eveline Lam

Connection to Harringay Warehouse District

As the name implies, the warehouse district has been the home of many industries spanning back to the 1800s. The first business to flourish in the site of the project was the brickyards, which supplied the stock London brick to the surrounding homes in the neighbourhood. Afterwards, a number of textile factories were built on the site that produced linen, raffia dyeing, and blouses. The pavilion uses all of these materials as an homage to the industry that has built up the neighbourhood’s history.

Proposal Outline

Coming up along Seven Sisters road, a delicate blue frame sits on a solid foundation of London stock brick. Over the course of the festival, the walls of the frame are woven with increasing strips of white painted canvas. It looks austere, until it rains. Then, the paintings of the neighbourhood artists are revealed and one is greeted by the individuals who make up the Harringay Warehouse community.

The proposed pavilion is a blue frame to hold the creative output of the artists who occupy the Harringay Warehouse district. It is a reference to the blue plaques that signify buildings in London that English Heritage deems notable. While there are over 900 across the city, there are only a few in Haringey. Locals have taken the matters into their own hands and begun marking virtual blue plaques to give recognition to those not officially recognized.

To further the spirit of community, the existing fence has been replaced with a long length of brick forming stepped seating. The presence of a brickyard at the site of the pavilion inspired the use of cored bricks for the new fence line. The intention is to create a place where people can meet and gather, rather than divide. The wall no longer removes the site from the sidewalk, but allows people to occupy the steps over the course of the day ‚ for lectures, workshops, performances, lunch. Constructed out of brick, the low wall has a permanence that is fitting of the highly visible gate to the neighbourhood and references the historic brick yard that once supplied the building for the houses around the site.

The framework sits lightly above the brick steps, and its eye-catching blue signals arrival into the neighbourhood. It serves as the structure for the canvas roof, which provides shading in the sun, and the canvas panels painted by the artists in the surrounding live-work studios. These canvases are distributed prior to the construction, and installed over the course of the festival. They are coated in a hydrochromic paint which is white when dry and becomes transparent when wet. It results in a pavilion that is deceptively simple, perfect for the moments when it needs to serve as the backdrop of a play or art exhibit. In the rain, however, the dreary atmosphere is brightened when the riot of colour is revealed and a hidden gallery is exposed.