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The Lion and the Unicorn: Taxidermy and the Vertical Garden of Pleasures

Part 1 Project 2020
Silvia Galofaro
University of Westminster | UK
This 21st-century definition of an urban pleasure garden is inspired by London’s historical approach to leisure and the 1951 Festival of Britain, as reflected in the title. Originally the Lion alluded to establishment, tradition, strength and dependability while the Unicorn was ‘whimsy and, at moments, mercurial and capricious’. The Lion and the Unicorn takes over the arguments of Britishness carried out during the Festival of Britain in 1951, translated into an architecture that was embracing the British heritage while developing a positive vision for the future. This dualism is translated into the architectural language where the Lion takes on a calculated rigour inspired by baroque geometry, to contrast with the Unicorn of modern glass and steel. The ensuing functions and the proximity to the Natural History Museum aim to open a reflection around the theme of British architecture within an uncertain political context. This Janus-faced approach programmatically alternates between the science of freeze dried-mount taxidermy and the pleasures of urban landscapes. The Lion and the Unicorn discuss the contemporary urban pleasure garden by enhancing the picturesque qualities of the Victorian and renaissance gardens transposed within the juxtaposition between the building’s garden journey and the praxis of taxidermy.

Silvia Galofaro

Stephen Harty
Constance Lau
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