Antepavilion 2019 Winner Announced

Maich Swift Architects have won this year’s commission to design and build the 2019 Antepavilion with a dual facing rootfop theatre and cinema

The 2019 Antepavilion, titled Potemkin Theatre, will play host to a programme of events that will activate the roofscape of the Columbia and Brunswick Wharf site, its adjacent canal and roadsides with public performances.

Potemkin Theatre, Canal view

Maich Swift’s winning proposal is for a timber structure clad in colourful panels of painted canvas, which will act as both a canalside theatre and rooftop cinema. Just as the Haggerston Baths sit empty across Laburnum Street, waiting to be restored to life, this little theatre of the everyday is a beacon full of potential waiting for occupation. Potential programming includes site-specific productions with touring theatre productions, small music concerts, film screenings, soapbox speeches or comedy shows.

Potemkin Theatre, Elevations

Chloe Spiby Loh, who chaired the jury, said “The jury were very impressed by the quality of work produced by the finalists in this year’s competition; each team showed a high level of commitment to the brief and the general objectives of the Antepavilion commission. Maich Swift’s Potemkin Theatre excited us with its bold celebration of informal structures and its playful programme. We also felt it would be a very publically engaging project that many would find enjoyment in.”

Potemkin Theatre, Model photo

Paul Maich and Ted Swift founded Maich Swift Architects following a period of five years working together at Caruso St John Architects on the design and construction of various projects including the 2016 Stirling Prize winning Newport Street Gallery. The practice is committed to the successful delivery of ambitious and characterful schemes and approaches each project with care and rigour. Using different methods of enquiry and representation to communicate their ideas, the practice continues this through to the construction phase with their thorough understanding of different materials and methods of building.

The Shortlist:

This year, five other finalists were shortlisted from a record number of nearly 200 entries, they included Fettle Studio, Iandelli Irving, MISC and Matthijs La Roi and Simone Tchonova. 

FAIENCE by Fettle Studio

Fettle Studio, Model Photo

Architect and ceramicist Lydia Johnson of Fettle Studio proposed a brightly coloured tiled lantern structure inspired by historic timber wharf structures. The pattern and colours of the ceramic tiles were inspired by the decorative patterns on canal boats and hung between a lattice of diamond shaped timber frames. As part of the construction process, Fettle Studio proposed to involve a community of makers all based nearby in London.

Faience, Fettle Studio

Fettle Studio is a young multi-disciplinary design practice focused on architecture and ceramics. The company was founded in 2018 by architect and ceramic artist, Lydia Johnson, to pursue a more flexible, integrated and hands-on approach to design and craft at many scales. With over a decade of experience in housing and regeneration with practices such as Nash Partnership and Mae Architects, Lydia is building an architectural portfolio in the community, arts and residential sectors.

TROJAN HORSE by Iandelli Irving

Trojan Horse

Trojan Horse was a proposal for a pavilion made predominantly of unaltered full size sheets of plywood, bound together and stacked to create thick walls. The project looked to foreground issues of waste and re-use by proposing to give away all the unused stock material to nearby creative communities as part of the after-life of the pavilion.

Trojan Horse interior

Lorenzo Iandelli and Jamie Gatty Irving both share an education divided between the UK and Switzerland. They enjoy approximation, pop culture and putting things on top of one another. In doing so, their work looks to find a rigor of thought, only to then contradict it with the irrational aspects of composition.  


Construction Nations, MISC

This proposal was to symbolically rebuild one of Wembley Stadium’s iconic twin towers which were controversially demolished in 2003, despite being Grade II listed. Abstracted and ghostly, the tower would be created out of a hardwood timber frame and covered in stretched fabric to create both a powerful form and intimate interior. Scaled at 1:8, the tower would have been 8m high and contained a programme of curated film screenings that foregrounded multicultural narratives in British communities.

Constructing Nations

MISC was founded by current RCA students, Alistair Napier and Nathan Quainoo, exploring projects with the central themes of collective identity, hybridity, and everyday culture, within Britain's post-colonial context.

PROTO-SELFBUILD by Matthijs La Roi and Simone Tchonova


With a background in architectural design, digital fabrication and political activism, Matthijs La Roi and Simone Tchonova developed a proposal for a new type of vertical self-build to engage and empower a new community of self-builders. The final design for the structure would be developed and built through a series of participatory community workshops using their new manual for self-build.


Matthijs la Roi graduated from the faculty of architecture at TU Delft in 2012. Since then he has worked on a wide range of design disciplines including Architecture, Urbanism, Naval Architecture and Public Art. He has a strong interest in bottom up design methods that involve simulation, performative evaluation and self-generation algorithms. 


Simone Tchonova is a Canadian architectural designer and RIBA Part II based in London. Simone’s design methodology aims to be active, reactive and disruptive. She works at an intersection with the socio-political and design driven experimentation. Her work criticizes the mundane standardization prevalent in architectural practice.


More Info

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 Farshid Moussavi, Director of Farshid Moussavi Architecture, the creative designer and artist Camille Walala, David Knight, co-founder of DK-CMThomas Randall - Page, part of the team who won the commission in 2018, and Russell Gray, founder of Shiva Ltd. The jury was chaired by Chloe Spiby Loh, Projects Assistant at the Architecture Foundation and included consultation with engineer Ed Moseley of AKT II.

The 2018 Antepavilion Commission was won by Thomas Randall-Page and Benedetta Rogers with a floating inflatable performance venue titled Air Draft.