Tottenham Pavilion – an Infrastructure of Resilience

By Oliver Brown, Sean Meyer and Darren Berlein

Connection to Harringay Warehouse District

The design connection begins with a place of familiarity. Gentrification has displaced countless families in my home community, Woodstock in Cape Town, South Africa. The Warehouse District community possesses ‘A unique power dynamic’ – The capacity of this expressive and self-built community to harness this special power becomes the design theme of the project. The design attempts to recognize this value and with this spirit attempts to sensitively examine and observe the everyday or seemingly mundane and transform it into the extra-ordinary. This theme of resourcefulness and resilience attempts to address the physical and metaphysical well-being of the community.

Proposal Outline

The project place-making looks to maximize the space on the site due to limited space, however, it is designed in such a way that it can be built in phases. The first phase includes covering of the central part of the site, the leftover spaces temporarily become open courtyard gathering spaces.

In a similar sentiment to the architect Albert Frey – observing and recognizing the industrial context the project gives value to seemingly ordinary resources and reinterprets them into an array of ‘technical kit of parts’ giving them a renewed significance ,something special.

Resources include:
PVC Pipes: Cheap 315mm diameter PVC pipes are transformed into 2,4 x 1,2m panels by cutting the pipe into short individual 250 mm segments. These segments are then tilted and painted a shade of yellow on its inside – which in turn creates a glowing rays of diffused light. These panels are fixed into a steel lattice grid which once stacked alongside each other create a ‘breathable’ wall that will be placed along the entire boundary line parallel to Eade Road. This threshold blurs the boundary between the inside and the outside, between two realities. The exterior becomes a place of curiosity allowing for an interactive engagement (this can come in many forms such as integrated signage and art displays) while the interior space becomes a retreat – a space of reflection and serenity. In the sentiment of Moholy Nagy “one should find in their home not only relaxation and recuperation, but also a heightening and harmonious development of their powers.” This pavilion will become a new ‘home’ for the community and attempts to provide the capacity to do this in a time of strife and upheaval.

The diffused light helps to achieve this through the ephemeral – the nonphysical. The design allures to the words of Juhani Pallasmaa “An exchange takes place; I lend my emotions and associations to the space and the space lend me its atmosphere, which entices and emancipates my perceptions and thoughts.”

Timber Pellets: The project reflects on ‘Pallet Paradise’. A large amount of spare,unused pellets can be made useful again. This important resource will create very practical aspects of the project such as:

Floors and Stepped seating – This creates the base platform which can be put on site in a series of phases and does not necessarily have to cover the site. The seating component can be stacked and moved around according to what needs need to be fulfilled. Shear’ walls, columns and ceilings are created with pellets for structural and enclosure purposes.

Trusses – This transformation also starts with a full disassembly of the pellet. From here individual timber slats are sandwiched and fixed together to create a series of posts for 8m long timber trusses. A sheeting on top of this roof would allow water to collect on one side into a semi-covered drain below the PVC screen, reflecting the water and enhancing the serene interior atmosphere before the water drains into a storage tank.