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Housing for West Silvertown

Part 1 Project 2006
Mark Smith
University of East London London | UK
The project began with a series of ‘experiments’ designed to observe and record patterns when molten lead was poured into water. These techniques were then taken to Shibuya, Tokyo to observe fluid movements in the city. What became apparent was the importance of the container, whether a simple container for water or highly complex city.
The scheme in Silvertown would become a container for the fluid lives of the inhabitants. The building is wrapped in a simple brick skin that covers a complex organisation. The volume is perforated vertically and horizontally creating a highly diverse mix of internal space.

Mark Smith

The unit programme explored DPM (disruptive pattern material) and focussed on patternmaking at various scales: Early investigations with material composites tested spatial qualities and inhabitation. Fieldwork in Shibuya, Tokyo, mapped patterns of urban situations with highly complex, integrated mixtures of programme.

West Silvertown, East London offered a complex armature between park, industrial, residential and waterfront conditions. This became a suitable territory in which to question the viability of mixing uses and tackle the issues of adjacency through the introduction of new built fabric. Emphasis was given to the accommodation of seemingly diverse uses by reinterpreting the analogy of camouflage.

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