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Part 2 Project 2010
Niklavs Paegle
Architectural Association London UK
The Discotheque assembles the gentrifying hipster culture alongside colonial Bangladeshi diaspora in East London. It is a congregational
building juxtaposed between the cultural and legislative infrastructure of Brick Lane market, protected view corridor of St Paul's Cathedral and the newly constructed East London Line. The physical and programmatic reconstruction of the layered domes understands and assimilates local mythology in the same way emerging social groups do. Lessons on construction techniques learned from Babylon, Renaissance and post-civil war Spain are reanimated in this ever-changing monument of socialisation.

Niklavs Paegle

Niklavs Paegle’s project, the Discotheque, responds intelligently to the unit’s agenda in which we are extremely interested in contemporary forms of life as one of the most intense and genuine products of our culture.

They constitute, at the same time, a record and a critique of our society because they are real attempts to build an alternative to the codes, customs and dominant material worlds. Their nature makes them elusive and difficult to register. They are fragile, since they are sensitive to cultural change and respond instantly to any change in the environment. They are rich and lush as to be based on individual interpretation of a common identity.

Niklavs’s project builds on the unit’s collective research of public cultural manifestations of social groups as a context. The emerging social group selected by Niklavs is the Hipsters of East London. In a classical sense of architecture we must respond to a physical context, extracting operational data from it to define its language. In our unit, this physical location is replaced by social groups, their habits, customs and material world. The hipsters’ infinite variety of life forms, cultural codes and associated material worlds are a possible model for an architecture that is designed to reflect, critique, and propose an alternative to existing spatial models. Niklavs reinterprets these cultural codes of hipsters as the focus of study, while referencing and addressing the project’s complex site near Brick Lane and the traditions of local Bangladeshi community.

Responding to the brief for a congregational space in the form of medium-sized building, Niklavs creates the ecstatic and aptic space of the discotheque through the exploration of compressive masonry structure. The highly contextual material brick is imbued with the reinterpreted cultural codes of hipsters and the Bangladeshis. He creates a series of layered domes and public spaces that overlap vertically following catenary logic.

His project is a subtle and intelligent proposal that tries to subvert the importance of the iconographic; and substituting it with an assembly of cultural and spatial references to respond to the variable and exuberant logic of the social groups: an Instant Monument.


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