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Medal Winner 2002
Serjeant Award

London Bridge Caravanserai: A modern interpretation of an ancient concept

Part 2 Project 2002
Kristina Lundvall
London Metropolitan University London UK
The ancient concept of the Caravanserai, a desert fort for merchants and travelers, is relevant to the site – a railway station in London – and the provision of temporary accommodation for modern travelers.
Transition and movement are an intrinsic part of the place and of the tradition of Borough High Street Inns.

Through the use of different media, Initially photography and then model making, I tried to gain a feeling of the project before it was actually designed. I made a careful study of materiality of plywood to make the transition from the busy city site to the intimate. The main element of the Caravanserai is a plywood roof structure, deep enough to be inhabited. It invites the visitors to enter and to come close enough to feel the material, its scent, texture, “body heat” and sound. The experience from within is a close up and intimate relationship with the space and the material and a generous view of London.

Staying at a caravanserai always meant engagement with the place, fellow travelers and the landscape around it. As the brief states: “We want to use the caravanserai to question our engagement with the city, not in the anonymity of a hotel but as temporary citizens participating in urban life”.

Kristina Lundvall


Students were working this year with the idea of emptiness. This project is very good on emptiness, on the idea of the charged void, the space between. This works at the scale of the space between the London Bridge Station viaduct and the new elevated inhabited roof structure, at the scale of the spaces inside the new inhabited roof, and at the scale of London Bridge Station.

Programme is not allowed to dominate space. Context and materiality give form to this space. The plywood material is chosen for the cosiness it affords to the sleeping space. The ply-ness of plywood is being celebrated. The private and the public space is well judged, the private is brought down to the public.

Intimate space and the hustle and bustle space of the station are in close proximity. Secure and nest-like places are set in relation to the space of the horizon of Central London.

2002
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