inCommon Place

By HandHand

Connection to Harringay Warehouse District

We find the opportunity to work with the people of Harringay really exciting. People who live, work and play within the same location and actively shape their own environment. The design hopes to encourage such human marks which are made over time through mending, adjusting and creating, which within Harringay are composed within the repetitive building typology of the warehouses. The modular structure of our proposal follows this typology, repetitive yet obviously crafted by hands. Versatile textile panels are part of the first phase of its construction, potentially created over the year running up to the construction of the pavilion.

Proposal Outline

We propose Tottenham Pavilion to be a place which the people of Harringay may have in common and share with the public. A place created through simple yet unique craftsmanship, built and used by the ‘common’ people and evolved accordingly. Here they can meet, work, craft and exhibit – bringing an opportunity to showcase a way of life different to the one gentrifying London and many other places around the world today. Through the construction of the pavilion the people of Harringay can take pride in their workmanship, which showcases marks left by many individual hands coming together.

Such marks are encouraged specifically in this design through sewing. HandHand has spent many years investigating stitching as a construction method, intrigued by its ability to join and to communicate human activity and creativity. The act of stitching is one we are all familiar with. Traditionally it’s a domestic habit of constructing, mending and decorating textiles and clothes more or less easily performed by anyone. We are now perhaps more used to buy such items rather than creating them ourselves. Yet it’s such a simple act for anyone to use a needle and thread to create something unique and lasting in which they can feel a sense of maker’s pride.

The design of inCommon Place through the Tottenham Pavilion seeks to connect people and architecture through the tradition of expressing oneself through stitches. It makes use of standardised stitches to join its modular framework in combination with more personalised and symbolic embroidered panels. With the project’s extended timeframe there is a possibility for volunteers to start the embroidery process early on and keep it going until the construction starts next summer, showcasing the pavilion as a process rather than a finished building.

At HandHand we seek to design principles which people themselves can use to build, shape and change. We hope to encourage a common yet unique craftsmanship, which results in architecture able to adapt and change for future uses.Our proposal involve modules which are easy to move around and reconfigure – four people may lift and move one module together. The panels can evolve, be replaced and adapt further. Could the pavilion become a greenhouse? Divided up into smaller structures with other functions? Could the embroidery grow over time? Such questions may be raised by the community and allowed to happen without our involvement.

During its first summer inCommon Place is envisioned to host gatherings, markets, workshops and performances. The structure is directly versatile through the simple act of ‘opening a window’, in this case a textile screen, which creates a connection between the inside and outside of the pavilion. When all the screens are closed it becomes an intimate tent. When they are open it transforms into a market, a stage or just a spot for informal conversations with people passing by. Our hope is for the pavilion to become loved by the community and evolved further in the future to suit their needs and desires.