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Foyer In Bermondsey South London

Part 2 Project 2001
Kaori Yamamoto
Kingston University, UK
My strategy for the project was to develop a response that worked on many levels. On an individual level I had to address issues of living in the city, and spent a lot of time considering the condition of dwelling that would be appropriate to the foyer. I was also interested in how a sense of community could be generated through the organisation of the building. On a wider, more public level, the project had to deal with the broken remains of Bermondsey Square and the current use of the space as an antique market. The proposed use, form, placement and material presence of the building make a proposition that helps to rebuild the situation but also to change it in a way that would add depth to the city fabric.

My project takes a basic unit of rooms and communal space as its starting point, and juxtaposes these in a complex volumetric arrangement that enables public, commercial and other community uses to be introduced into the building. The project investigates ideas of pre-fabrication and simple, but phenomenally present constructional techniques to develop an idea about urban dwelling. The skin of the building is clad with timber and glass, and uses slats to provide changing levels of privacy within the building. The ground on which the building sits is developed as a series of territories to accommodate the multitude of events that constitute everyday life in Bermondsey.

Kaori Yamamoto

The work of the unit is concerned with proposing a concrete architecture that is both grounded within its context and responsive to deeper issues of the cultural situation. We are interested in the art of building as a phenomenological position. We are concerned about the cultural, social and political implications of the work and its situatedness within everyday life.

The project we developed was a foyer building in Bermondsey Square in south east London. Bermondsey Square is now a fragment of the Georgian urban fabric that was destroyed by Victorian planning zeal. The square stands as a mute witness to centuries of change, from its initial incarnation as the cloister to the Cluniac Abbey founded here in 1082, to its current use as a quasi car-park that is inhabited on Friday morning by an antiques market.

Kaori’s response to the project is simultaneously sensitive and robust and deals with the complexity of the situation with both appropriateness and finesse. Her project explores the potential for the foyer to be regenerative on many levels; from the personal emancipation of the resident to urban redevelopment. The work explores, with great sophistication, the obverse sides of the urban situation, namely issues of dwelling and of public gathering. Kaori has a deep understanding of the potential of the material imagination and has produced a body of work that is uncommonly grounded.

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