2017 Antepavilion Press Release

Could this micro dwelling in disguise help solve the housing crisis?

This week sees the opening of the 2017 Antepavilion, the first of an annual series of experimental structures to be built at Hoxton Docks, a complex of artists’ studios on the Regent’s canal in East London. Designed and built by upcoming architecture firm, PUP Architects, this year's Antepavilion was selected from 128 proposals in a competition organised by the Architecture Foundation and sponsored by Shiva Ltd.

The competition brief called for proposals that explored alternative ways of living in the city and engaged with issues of sustainability and recycling. PUP's design is a playful subversion of planning legislation, exploiting loopholes for mechanical rooftop equipment to be built without planning permission.

The pavilion invites discussion about the occupation of the city's rooftops by highlighting relaxed permitted development rights. It suggests that if dwellings could be disguised as air conditioning equipment, thousands of micro houses could be built across the city providing new homes.

Covertly extrovert, the snaking linear form is functional yet surprisingly sculptural and is clad in silver shingles cut from reject Tetra-Pak printed roll.  The Antepavilion has been built by PUP with the assistance of carpenters and a team of volunteers, and technical support from structural engineers, AKTii.

PUP Architects said: “While permitted development exists for large scale infrastructural roof installations, little challenge has been made for other viable and productive uses for rooftops. By subverting the form of the permitted and giving it a non-standard use, we hope to bring into question this order of priorities.”

Russell Gray, Director of Shiva Ltd said: "We are delighted to sponsor an initiative to encourage young and emerging architects, designers and artists with an appetite for hands-on construction, freed of the oppressive web of aesthetic, regulatory and commercial constraints that govern most urban construction projects."

Ellis Woodman, Director of The Architecture Foundation said: “Supporting emerging practices has always been central to The Architecture Foundation’s mission so we were delighted that Shiva invited us to help formulate the first Antepavilion competition.  We are looking forward to the annual commission developing into a significant event in the architectural calendar and an important stepping stone for a generation of emerging architects.”

The Antepavilion will be open to the public on the weekend of the 5th and 6th of August. Visitors should ring the buzzers at Hoxton Docks for access. It will then be open again on the 16th and 17th of September during London’s Open House weekend.

Notes to editors:

PUP Architects is a London-based design and architecture studio specialised in socially and environmentally conscious architectural projects. PUP is led by ARB registered architects; Theo Molloy, Chloë Leen and Steve Wilkinson. Formed in 2014, PUP has quickly earned a reputation for having a positive design ethos which is critically engaged with the discipline and the world around it.  

Shiva Limited is a property development company engaged in preservation and restoration of London’s historic environment. It hosts and cultivates independent fabrication workshops at its London Bridge site. It promotes excellence in craftsmanship and seeks to foster appetite for sympathetic, well-thought-out design, always in high regard and sensitivity to London’s rich heritage.

The Architecture Foundation is a cultural organisation and think-tank that works to cultivate a richer conversation around built-environment issues, particularly in relation to London.  Its activities include programming public lectures and other live events, publishing in print and online platforms, developing initiatives to support young architects and lobbying on issues of public policy.

AKTii is a London-based firm of structural and civil engineering consultants founded in 1996 by Architecture Foundation Trustee, Hanif Kara, Albert Williamson-Taylor and Robin Adams.