Press Release: Antepavilion 2020 Shortlist

The Architecture Foundation and Shiva Ltd have announced the shortlist for the 2020 Antepavilion competition.

The shortlist, which comprises five entries from teams based in and beyond the UK, includes a diverse mix of projects from a relocatable bridge to an installation of life-like model sharks. The shortlisted teams each receive an honorarium of £600 to develop their scheme over the next few weeks before a final interview with the Antepavilion jury.

The winner will have the opportunity to realise their structure on a set of pontoons in the Regents Canal in Haggerston, London over the summer of 2020.

Ellis Woodman, director of the Architecture Foundation said “Now in its fourth year, the Antepavilion commission has established a very particular identity: experimental, anti-authoritarian, and committed to the principle that architect and builder are one and the same person.  It has proven an incredibly effective tool for unearthing new talent and this year's shortlist is again dominated by names that are new to me. The five shortlisted schemes answer very different ambitions but share a precision that set them apart from the other entries.”


Shortlist and architects’ descriptions

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.”

Sharks! by Jaimie Shorten

“The Headington Shark (proper name Untitled 1986) made a famous case in planning decisions and precedent. The Appeal decision that allowed it to be (eventually) retained included this:

‘the shark is not in harmony with its surroundings, but then it is not intended to be in harmony with them’

This proposal has several sharks on a raft.

The compositional arrangement of the sharks follows that of The Raft of the Medusa  by Théodore Géricault (1791–1824). 

They will sing Charles Trenet’s La Mer, in harmony and in French, as a poignant reflection on the UK leaving the EU

La mer,
Au ciel d'été,
Confond, ses blancs moutons
Avec les anges si purs.
La mer,
Bergère d'azur

Additionally, each of the six sharks will give a lecture on important themes in contemporary architecture and urbanism.”


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."


Andy Groarke, Carmody Groarke Architects
Bushra Mohamed, David Kohn Architects and tutor at Kingston School of Art
Russell Gray, Founder of Shiva Ltd
Madeline Kessler, Curator of the 2020 British Pavilion at the Venice Biennale
Ted Swift, Maich Swift – Antepavilion 2019 winners
Ellis Woodman, Director of the Architecture Foundation (Chair)
Gerry O’Brien, AKTii Engineering (Technical advisor)


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.

For comment, please contact Ellis Woodman on