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An Architecture of Spolia for Brick Lane

Part 2 Project 2021
Christopher Smith
London Metropolitan University | UK
Brick Lane, and London more broadly, were seismically altered because of the COVID-19 crisis. Homes took on the additional function as a place for labour, public spaces were deserted, and civic life ground to a halt. At this critical juncture, this thesis envisions a cultural renaissance, where places to celebrate cultural activity and experience life beyond the realm of the digital are sought out and cherished.

Located at the Truman Brewery in Spitalfields, An Architecture of Spolia for Brick Lane imagines the appropriation and transformation of a misused 1970s factory building (‘Block H’) to celebrate underrepresented voices in Spitalfields, through the design of a garden square adjacent to spaces for contemporary performances. Humankind’s impact on the Anthropocene is increasingly laid bare, and the thesis acknowledges that architect’s reuse of buildings as critical to minimise our environmental impact.

The thesis aims to find a material language in Spolia, a type of reuse with associations to memory which accepts the strange occurrences and junctions resulting from using reclaimed materials. It challenges some of the conventional wisdom of efficiency and standardization, and argues against an over-rationalization and economy to building. Instead, we must build more slowly, reusing what we have to hand.

Christopher Smith

Paolo Emilio Pisano
Takero Shimazaki
Karabo Turner
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