Antepavilion 2018 Winner Announced

Thomas Randall-Page and Benedetta Rogers have won the commission to design and build the 2018 Antepavilion with a floating inflatable performance venue

The 2018 Antepavilion, which will travel London’s waterways in the summer, is conceived as a two-level inflatable space with a high-pressure supporting structure and low-pressure canopy resting on a historic steel barge named Ouse.

The design, which will be realised with the help of structural engineers, AKTii, allows the barge to deflate in order to fit through the many low bridges and tunnels which line London’s canal network then re-inflate creating a pop-up performance space.

Phineas Harper who chaired the jury said: “The jury were deeply impressed with the calibre and creativity of the finalists. Thomas Randall-Page and Benedetta Rogers’ winning design is exhilarating and joyful, drawing upon the work of Jeffrey Shaw and Ant Farm. The bold and experimental nature of the team’s proposed structure and the festive programme of events they envision along the length of the Regent’s Canal make it an exciting and worthy winner of the 2018 Antepavilion Commission.

Five finalists were shortlisted for the commission from 132 initial entries including Thomas Bates, Duman Studio, Max Dewdney Architects with No-To-Scale, and Kennedy Woods Architecture. Thomas Bates received an honorary mention from the jury who felt his proposal, Butty Boat, showed exceptional architecture judgement and a deep knowledge of craft.


Thomas Randall-Page and Benedetta Rogers statement

"As much as canals changed London, London’s canals have changed, from conduits of industry and cargo to arteries of art, culture and leisure. Having spent her life hauling heavy loads, Ouse is in for a treat! We plan to give her a huge cargo but of something somewhat lighter, Air. 

Through this proposal we pay homage to our counter-culture forebears, in particular the artist Jeffrey Shaw and the work of Ant Farm.

With a boat for a father and an air ship for a mother Air Draft is a space for relaxation and performance. Utilising her airtight hull we propose to insert a robust tethered membrane which when inflated from below produces a soft playful landscape for lounging around on. Above, a second far lighter membrane provides shelter and enclosure.

Air Draft provides a place for guests to kick off their shoes and lounge about in playful comfort. A timber deck over the engine room extends into the inflatable, making a modest solid stage. A small wall with an attached awning contains the airlock door and fan unit. When the membranes are deflated this wall can fold down flat to the deck allowing Air Draft ample clearance under even the lowest canal bridge.

This summer Ouse will once more traverse the Regent's Canal but this journey has a new purpose to champion experimentation and the arts. Air Draft will tour the grassroots venues, arts institutions and cultural hubs which dot the banks of the canal, highlighting their precious but fragile existence. Air Draft will partner with existing small venues, host takeover events and act as an activator and beacon. With a program of open mic, live comedy, poetry, spoken word and live art we aim to raise awareness and celebrate small scale independent venues and places of culture.

Over a series of summer days Air Draft will be accessible to the public whilst docked at key locations along the canal. When viewed from the towpath Air Draft resembles a curiously overloaded cargo boat and once returned to Brunswick and Columbia Wharf it will add to the ensemble of playful and experimental structures which call this place their home."

The Antepavilion is an annual commission to build an experimental piece of architecture at Hoxton Docks in East London, supported by the Architecture Foundation and Heritage Property Developer, Shiva Ltd.

The jury comprised Mary Duggan of Mary Duggan Architects, Theo Molloy of PUP Architects, Russell Gray, founder Shiva Ltd, the design writer Emily King, and Beth Hughes, head of architecture at the RCA, and is chaired by Phineas Harper from the Architecture Foundation.

The 2017 Antepavilion commission was won by PUP Architects, who created a micro house disguised as a sculptural air conditioning duct on the roof of a warehouse building. Press materials for the 2017 Antepavilion are available here.