Is it an air duct? Eccentric gallery? Extension? Does that say "pavilion"? It is, in fact, the latter. In a tongue-in-cheek message to Hackney Borough Council, London firm PUP Architects present an alternative living proposal atop a Haggerston warehouse. Spearheaded by Theo Molloy, Chloe Leen and Steve Wilkinson, PUP Architects disguised the duct-cum-dwelling-cum-pavilion in the form of an air duct, suggesting a new way to live in the city. Known as the #AntePavilion, the spiralling silver structure is a response to the luxury flats due to be built by the stretch of Regents Canal the AntePavilion inhabits.
PUP Architects' work was made possible by The Architecture Foundation, a non-profit that campaigns for "a better built city", and Shiva, a developer who was snubbed by Hackney Council when they wanted to built an innocuous beach hut. Enraged, Shiva built it anyway. Now the developer has what appears to be a duct as well. Why a duct? you ask. Two-storey "service structures" are allowed on Hackney rooftops, but dwellings are not. "We thought if you're going to build a pavilion you might as well give it a political slant," said Phineas Harper, deputy director of The Architecture Foundation.
What else is here?
If you've been sold down the river by PUP Architects' work, then come back next year. Another provocative pavilion is planned at the same location. Meanwhile for now, seeing as the AntePavilion is best viewed from the south-side of the canal, head further south to the Geffrye Museum to find a former alcove of irongmongers' almoshouses that date back to 1715. Also nearby is the equally charming Hoxton Hall: a Grade II Victorian theatre that crams in two perimeter balconies and an eclectic array of performances. Finally, a stone's throw east is Haggerston School. While not as quaint, the school was designed Erno Goldfinger, a modernist architect who riled Bond author Ian Fleming so much he named a villain after him. Goldfinger even used to get nuisance calls from wannabe Pierce Brosnans.