Antepavilion 2020 Winner Announced

Jaimie Shorten has won this year’s commission for the 2020 Antepavilion, taking the form of a family of six sharks leaping and lunging from the Regent’s Canal

The 2020 Antepavilion will take the form of a family of six sharks, leaping and lunging from the Regent’s Canal. 

Entrants to the fourth annual competition for an experimental structure at Brunswick and Columbia Wharf in Haggerston, east London were asked to make proposals that responded ‘to the tension between authoritarian governance of the built environment and aesthetic libertarianism’. That focus reflected Hackney Council’s recent decision to serve an enforcement notice against a number of structures that have been built on the canalside site including two former Antepavilions. 



SHARKS!, the winning proposal by architect Jaimie Shorten takes inspiration from the Headington Shark, the full-scale fibreglass sculpture of a shark that crashes into the roof of a terraced house in suburban Oxford.  Installed in 1986, the Headington Shark was the subject of a prolonged campaign by Oxford City Council to force its removal. Eventually, the case was assessed by the Department of the Environment in 1992 which decreed that it could remain, noting that ‘the shark is not in harmony with its surroundings, but then it is not intended to be in harmony with them’.


Shorten’s sharks will be fitted with audio equipment, enabling them to sing and give lectures on architecture and urbanism.  They are also reconfigurable into different arrangements redolent of social distancing and Gerricault’s The Raft of the Medusa.

Supported by Shiva Ltd and the Architecture Foundation, the annual Antepavilion commission was established in 2017.  Winners receive a prize of £25,000 from which they are required to fund the construction of their proposal. Past winners have included PUP (2017), Thomas Randall Page and Benedetta Rogers (2018) and Maich Swift (2019).

It is intended that SHARKS! Will be realised this Autumn although the Antepavilion team recognises that this ambition may be frustrated by the ongoing health crisis.


The Shortlist:

This year, five other finalists were shortlisted from 135 entries, they included Studio Emile, Sticks and Stones, bvlt and Akasaki Verhoeven.

Bridge Over Troubled Water by Studio Emile

“Our proposal tries to link two sides and enter into a discussion. The pavilion takes its shapes from seven pontoons. Placed in a line, they create a long pier on which we can walk, sit and stay. With the movement of two hinges, the pavilion expands and retracts teasing both sides of the canal, bridging across to attract passersby. A canopy, spanning in between the steel structure unfolds as the elements move in different positions creating a covered Piazza over the water. The long pier should become a place of contemplation, discussion and a pavilion for distraction.” Studio Emile is Barbara Thüler, Charles Bédin and Elseline Bazin


Hortus Conclusus by Sticks and Stones (Becky Chipkin and Jack Swanson)

“The project proposes a new floating community garden on the Regent’s Canal. The walled garden (Hortus Conclusus) provides intimacy and shelter for the activities within whilst allowing partial openness - the wall itself is raised delicately on masonry plinths offering glimpses of the garden from outside. The wall acts as a kind of ‘billboard’ to the transient joggers, walkers and cyclists along the canal. The project is intended to be built and run with genuine community participation from local residents.”


sur les tois by bvlt

“The London Borough of Hackney’s Council issued in 2019 an enforcement notice requiring the removal of the well-known Antepavillion rooftop structures, as well additional gravitating elements of the Wharves. 'Unacceptable by virtue of their size, location and design’, the Council furthermore describes the structures as ‘incongruous’ forms of development which adversely affects the character, appearance and architectural integrity of the host building and the conservation area.

Between rebellion and coalition, disharmony and unity, opposition and integration, sur les toits inserts itself as the story's iconic protagonist. Silent yet telling, the symbolic proposal escapes the enforcement claims whereas emblematically embodying Antepavillion’s one. sur les toits (on roofs) is no more than, yet above all, an-architectural claim.


Tea House by Akasaki Verhoeven

"Modularity is found in the 1:2 ratio of the pontoons, a ratio required for the traditional tea room Tatami-mat which is fundamental to tea drinking in Japan. The Tea House floats detached from the mainland, circumferencing a pool of water which motivates its introversive nature and beckons fluid circulation around the pavilion. The roof opening allows the presence of English rain to be felt inside, while lounging on recycled chip foam. The chains dangle from the edges of the gutters, appearing as a light and ornamental fabric, but function as guides to carry down drops of rain from the steel gutters to the canal."



The jury for this year’s Antepavilion competition comprised:

Russell Gray (Shiva Ltd)

Andy Groarke (Carmody Groarke)

Madeleine Kessler (Co-Curator of the British Pavilion at the 2020 Venice Biennale, and co-founder of Unscene Architecture)

Gerry O’Brien (AKT ii)

Bushra Mohammed (David Kohn Architects)

Ted Swift (Maich Swift)


Shiva Ltd. is a property development company engaged in preservation and restoration of London’s historic environment. It hosts 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.

Requests for interviews should be addressed to Ellis Woodman, Director of The Architecture Foundation at