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A New Political Monument

Part 1 Project 2015
Ella Clarke
University of Cambridge Cambridge UK
The fire in March 2013 that gutted Walworth town hall provided the opportunity to relocate Southwark council’s headquarters to a prominent building that recognises their significance, and to consider what the expression of a civic building should be. In addition to council facilities - one stop shop, offices and debating chamber - the plan also includes an extension to the adjoining library and a museum that was incorporated in the original building. A ‘political core forms the heart of the new proposal, around which other activities occur, creating a legible framework in which a broad range of civic activities may take place. In addition to the creation of a strong political presence and spatial orientation, the core also provides a sense of permanence through its monumental form, a theme continued in the material choices in other elements of the building. A reaction to early contextual observations, including the borough’s rich architectural language, it is hoped that this monolithic building will provide an enduring democratic presence in a context where opportunities for political involvement have been increasingly eroded.¬¬
Ella Clarke


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