Friday, May 20th, 2016

Building Upon Building

Striping the block – Revisiting Lutyens Page Street
This social housing complex consists of checked roads and striped courts. Seven u-shaped building blocks form a precise composition creating different levels of enclosure. The facades play out an urban dialogue of public and private, of classical and modern. Abstract checkerboard facades of portland cement and dark bricks cover the perimeter of the blocks, creating abstract public space. The inner facades enclosing the communal courtyards are horizontally lined with white galleries that create intimacy and an interior quality. Classicist accents such as the entrance gates and the entrance pavilions downplay the graphic.
Our proposal will have to start on an urban level. Our site is the inconspicuous community hall that was added in 1970 after the central blocks were partly demolished. On this spot we propose a slab that contests the composition by turning its logic inside out. The gesture creates new enclosed public spaces, which mediate between the intimate space of the courts and the abstract space of the streets. The new facade plays with Lutyens language of public and private: The front facade has horizontal gallery lining, bringing the private atmosphere into the public space. New classical element is the large base with galleries at both sides as entrance porticos. Whereas the pattern was too dominant to resist, the materialization of the new building is light and modern. The plinths rests on elegant steel columns, and for the slab portland cement is alternated with steel mesh.
Page street housing (1927)
Assignment: revisiting Page Street
Year: 2016
Client: Architectura en Natura, Forum issue ‘Building upon Building’