Commendation SOM Winner IGuzzini Travelling Award
The project deals with the point where ground meets water; metaphorically as well as physically, and the psychological power of the void. The site is a former docking bay next to the Royal Victoria Docks in East London, now turned into a Paintworks. The laboratory is complemented with studios and accommodation for three resident artist painters, who become a vital part of the testing and evaluation of the oil and watercolours produced. Sitting below ground level in an empty dry dock, acting as a sunken courtyard, the studios utilise different ways of bringing down light into the dark space.
Johan Berglund’s interests lie in the experience of light and the poetic and psychological dimensions of architecture. He proposes a paint laboratory, artists’ studios and accommodation for the Royal Victoria Dock, a site strongly linked with the history of material refinement in East London. Pigment, colour, darkness, and weather are his main materials. Each courtyard, passage and chamber of his building has a distinct presence, but one space folds into another, creating a rich architectural sequence with a Chiaroscuro atmosphere. The project proves Johan’s exceptional talent as an architectural designer and thinker.