David Kohn Architects
39–51 Highgate Road
London NW5 1RT
+44 (0)20 7424 8596 tel
DKA in collaboration with artist Fiona Banner has completed A Room for London, an installation on the roof of the Queen Elizabeth Hall at Southbank Centre, London for the 2012 Olympic year.
The design competition, which attracted 500 entries from around the world, was set up by Living Architecture and Artangel, in association with Southbank Centre. The brief was to create a room on one of the most visible sites in the British capital, where up to two people at a time could spend a unique night in an exemplary architectural landmark.
The proposal is for a boat, perched on the Queen Elizabeth Hall roof, that will appear to have come to rest there, grounded, perhaps, from the retreating waters of the Thames below. The idea evolved from narratives of travel and displacement in literature, in particular Joseph Conrad’s novella ‘Heart of Darkness,’ a story that begins beside the River Thames. The boat takes its name, 'Roi des Belges' from the steamboat that Conrad himself captained on the Congo. Visitors to the boat will be invited to create their own narrative by recording their experience on board.
Alongside public booking, the Room will play host to a guest programme of special visitors – artists, writers and cultural commentators of all kinds. These ‘thinkers-in-residence’ will be invited to stay and encouraged to muse on the city at a moment in time, through writing, image-making, online postings or live webcasts from the Room itself as their own idiosyncratic entries in the logbook. Some contributions will be instantly experienced by the public; others developed slowly during the course of the year. All visitors will be offered a chance to share experiences of a night in the Room.
Photographs by Charles Hosea