From Where I Stand

By Office ParkScheerbarth with Meta Popp

Connection to Harringay Warehouse District

The proposal’s connection to Harringay Warehouse District is threefold: form, materiality and theme. The design fuses typical forms and scales of the industrial and the domestic realms to create a novel, hybrid and neutral space. The Pavilion appropriates boldly coloured, industrial PVC strip curtain – widely used in warehouses globally as entrances/screens – to celebrate the community’s creativity. The design’s central concepts, fluidity and ambivalence, are inspired by the flexible nature of warehouse living, its broader challenges (authenticity, gentrification) and an inevitable clashing of interpretations within the community and beyond. The material blurring of apparent boundaries represents the community‚Äôs strive for openness.

Proposal Outline

Two exciting yet straightforward shapes sculpturally interpret the concept of warehouse living by mediating between industrial and domestic scales: wide/narrow, tall/low, open/closed. Seen from Eade Road, the Pavilion’s silhouette is reminiscent of a warehouse front with playful asymmetry. Entering the site from Seven Sisters Road, however, one encounters a wide and low opening, which gradually transforms into a narrow and tall one. Two of these hybrid shapes meet to give room to an unexpected and neutral space in the middle. Clear geometry creates a complex experience: a constant change of scales and perspectives evolves as people move through space.
But appearances are deceiving. Made out of industrial PVC curtain, the Pavilion can be entered and exited at any point, not just at the openings. The soft walls blur the boundaries between inside and outside and transform the entire Pavilion into an entrance, welcoming the local community, neighbours and guests to create mutual experiences and shared memories. We expect a playful social experiment: when and how do people pass through walls rather than through openings? The design also playfully shows that there is no single truth and that interpretations are non-linear.
The translucence of the Pavilion creates a dynamic and meditative interplay between light and colour. Sunlight, passing through the vinyl, taints the interior in ever-changing hues as it travels throughout the day. At night, simple light installations create attractive atmospheres within and around the Pavilion. The translucence also makes for captivating views, both outside-in and inside-out as people interact. The ever-changing constellations of appearance ensure not only joy but sustained coverage on social media platforms. The shining diversity of colour further symbolizes the district’s creativity and stands in stark contrast to today’s sterilized and clinical forms of urban development. We believe that the best antidote to gentrification is not a statement against but for something, a celebration of that, which deserves protection.
The simple floor plan and modular furniture permit multiple activities to play out within the structure easily. However, the soft walls also enable uses to transcend the shape of the Pavilion and utilize the entire site. The roof adds weather protection (overlapping PVC sheets at an angle) while allowing for daylight. An adaptive outdoor concept complements the Pavilion to create a flexible public space that ensures safe circulation, has ample seating opportunities and allows for markets, BBQ and plenty of good times. Single modules serve as chairs and, when combined, transform into benches and tables. Our proposal also embraces the fence; angled colouring becomes an attraction for passers-by and enhances the Pavilion design.
Lastly, sustainability is a key concern. When dismantling the Pavilion, the PVC strips will be turned into a series of practical, quirky and unique objects (e.g. chairs, lamps) together with the community. These can be used in the warehouses’ large communal areas or sold to offset parts of the budget. This way, dismantling becomes an event, recycling an attraction, and everybody takes a piece of memory to wherever they call home-townhouse or warehouse.