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urban project on Isle of dogs

Part 2 Project 1999
Anthony Hall
Kingston University Kingston-Upon-Thames UK
My work in the unit was primarily concerned with an exploration of the overlap between various ways of life and activities, people and places. Two projects were undertaken in the year.

The first term investigated the area immediately surrounding The Oval, London E8, in the borough of Tower Hamlets. Using film and montage to explore the rich layering of the area's everyday condition, I located a site alongside The Regents Canal. My project proposes a place of rest along the relentlessly linear towpath. Two geometric shifts in the existing layers of materiality meet to create a mediating ground of encounter and activity connecting the now mostly recreational water frontage and the light-industrial road.

The major diploma project was situated at West India Quay on the Isle of Dogs, in-between the global economic community of Canary Wharf and the indigenous East-end population of London. The site at present does little to establish any connection between the two immediate realms. My proposal is for a research institute for Development Studies, facilitating the study of economics, urbanism, anthropology, sociology, etc., with shared ‘public’ facilities for non-residents such as housing, cafes, bars, a library, a shopping street, etc. Following on from my previous project the scheme encourages the overlap of these activities, creating a series of complex three dimensional fractured ‘grounds’ which act as ‘fields’ within which encounters can occur: places for formal and informal debate between the local and global communities. The building would, I hope, create a place which at once researches the city whilst becoming a microcosm of the city.

Anthony Hall

Anthony Hall's portfolio consists of 2 projects completed in the unit this year. The first term was spent investigating THE OVAL, LONDON E8, a semi-derelict Brownfield site on the borders of Hackney and Tower Hamlets. The scheme developed from filming the everyday life of the area surrounding The Regents Canal and the Essex and Cambridgeshire railway line.

His proposal connects the towpath to the road. An inclined ramp/path makes a garden and 'pit stop' for joggers, cyclists, walkers etc. The project aims to be an integrating ground for the distinct activities of the site utilising found and reclaimed materials as well as new finishes; old bricks, pre-fabricated concrete slabs, vegetation, blossoming fruit trees, pools of water, reflected light from a drinking fountain. The combination of these spacial elements create a space for replenishment; the project respond to the seasons and to the mundane situation: it reveals the temporal scale of the natural and cultural worlds of the city.

These intense material investigations of the first project are synthesised in the complex three dimensional spatial and geometric volumes and grounds of the major diploma design. Situated on the Isle of Dogs, between West India Quay and Poplar DLR stations and beside a stagnant dock and Billingsgate fish market; Anthony's proposal is for a Centre for Development Studies. The home for this hybrid academic subject, comprising economics, anthropology, urbanism, sociology, human geography, architecture, etc.; combines reserch into many of the political tensions present in the site (the Docklands Development Corporation Claim to have created the commercial 'city of the future'; it sits beside low rent housing and run down council estates; neither explicitly acknowledge the other).

The configuration of the scheme's architectural elements, student housing, a library, classrooms for evening study for continuing education, bars, a cafe, a shopping 'high street', are reminiscent of a segment of a city. The various fields of scolarship combined together create a setting for the study of the city in order to involve both the local and international population, resident and nomad, in dialogue; make a place for the conversation of strangers.

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