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The Tributary: Peter Ackroyd Centre

Part 1 Project 2010
Kiku Simcoe
London South Bank University | UK
The Tributary: Peter Ackroyd Centre
Blackfriars Bridge

The proposal is for a tribute to the great river of London and to Peter Ackroyd who has written extensively about the city as well as the river itself.

The centre would exhibit the history and art which Ackroyd speaks of in his many works. It would also link Blackfriars Station with the River Transport system - a direct connection through the gallery would allow a seamless flow from the artistic and historic to the literal and present experience of the Thames.

Pursuing Ackroyd's research, analysis has been conducted by using the human body as an analogy for the Thames River. It is the vital organ, the backbone, the bringer of trade and the inspiration. No wonder it has been personified as 'Old Father Thames' the constant, yet ever-changing personality
of the silvery waters.

Peter Ackroyd's analogy of the Thames River and the human body expresses London's reach for inspiration and discovery - literally the River reaches for the ocean - the docks and piers reach to the water and Londoner's, throughout history have reached, through the Thames, for artistic inspiration, discovery of new worlds, and now they reach for the
'liquid history' hidden beneath its depths.

Piers, docks, bridges and jetties are like human limbs, reaching out to the Thames. We use these constructed limbs to access the river - visually, physically and metaphorically they take us to the water
- and everything it symbolizes.

"Ancient river, changing never,
Symbol of eternity,
Gliding water, lapsing ever,
Mirror of inconstancy."

- Fred Thacker:
The Stripling Thames - 1909
(from Peter Ackroyd:
Thames The Biography - 2007)

- Kiku Simcoe

Kiku Simcoe

Kiku Simcoe’s Year Three final project is a proposal for a gallery adjacent to Blackfriars Bridge on the north side of the River. Its title is The Tributary: Peter Ackroyd Centre. Kiku’s project began with an investigation of the site, London and its relationship to the river Thames. The research also included an exploration of the edges, piers and jetties that act as limbs reaching out into the river. Using her own body she developed a series of abstract images through which a process of architectural forms developed. This combined with Peter Ackroyd’s ‘Thames The Bibliography’, conceived the proposition for the programme pursuing his research and analysis of the river. The gallery is a linear history of art, poetry, architecture and events. The scheme also includes a river connection bridging the existing road to a new river transport landing. The position of the building signals the outlet of the River Fleet, one of London’s largest hidden tributaries. The scheme has a kinetic quality where individual light sensors adjust the large glass panels. The projects ambition is that during the course of the day, light and shade will sweep across the surface momentarily fusing the gallery with the river reflections. She has managed to enjoy balancing questions of programme and fabrication. Within its gallery spaces the scheme holds aspects of the past, which allows us to measure the present and hopefully bring forth the future in regards to the river and its context.

Design tutor Seamus Ward Senior lecturer

Mr Seamus Ward
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