With the roof as our site, the fundamental focus of Intermediate 10 is the room that touches the sky – a prime location to gain a new understanding of the city. Our goal this year was to add one extra level (+1) to London’s skyline both conceptually and literally, and to speculate on tangible and fantastic alternatives for the city.
Intermediate 10 is dictated and governed by the notion of the architectural (+1). Throughout the course of the year, the projects centred on the plus one in its urban architectural context, its relevance to London and the Architectural Association itself. When the unit was established at the start of the academic year, the school granted students permission to develop a design that would be constructed on the currently vacant and inaccessible roof at the rear of 33 Bedford Square. This design became the ultimate aim and focus of our collective and individual endeavours over the three terms, as well as the physical manifestation of our united understanding of the plus one in its architectural situation in the city. Designed by students and built by students, the rooftop is a tribute to the founding principles of the school itself.
We pursue a tangible and quantifiable collective goal whilst cultivating individual ideals and philosophies. From collective work on site-specific designs, planning documents and the construction of our particular rooftop, to individual projects that concern the notion of the (+1) in London’s urban setting, the unit tries to tap into what architecture really is. Given the outline and the centre of the (+1), we are left to decipher its meaning and content on our own terms. We develop our own notions and bring these to the wider table of the unit. We start with the simple, elaborate
to the conceptual and then hone in on the real – the business, the politics of fabrication, the genuine construction and the built project. We savour the English breeze blowing above our head, and our sheepish desire to rise above the parapet.
We are the (+1).
Valentin Bontjes van Beek
Tonkin Liu Architects
Neue Holzbau CH
AA Facilities Department
Monia De Marchi
Jeroen van Armeijde
Beginning as a Journey then making a discovery the project has been a story of travel and distraction. Within the limitless possibilities of making an addition in London the project investigated many sites and scenarios proposing additions to the existing fabric of London that where guided by principles of endorsement, national identity and a penchant for industrial heritage.
The presented Site is that of the Watertower in Southall. This became the focal project that was developed furthest amongst an investigation of multiple sites and possibilities. Originally inspired by intrigue in its bizarre existence I was eventually sold on the site when I discovered stories of its colourful past. Originally a water tower for the railway the structure irritated the sensibilities of Queen victoria who would ride the train along the great western railway over Brunel’s Wharncliffe Viaduct and the grand union canal to Windsor. On her request the water tower was surrounded by a façade resembling a castle that remained even when the water tower inside had long ceased to function. The Water tower remained a ruin and a hang out for bold children (according to one episode of the professional from 1979) until the 1980’s when a group of locals established a housing co-operative that developed the water tower into 37 apartments. Still housing for the people of Southall the water tower now sits right in the middle of one of the largest brown field sites within the capital and with its Grade II listing is destined to become a monument amongst the new town that has been granted permission to be built around it.
The proposed addition is a response to the proposed change occurring around the water tower and another chapter in its life of change and alteration. The only place in Southall where one can be elevated enough to experience their relationship to the amazing places and features that the area boasts as well as the place where the connection to greater London can be understood. Inspired by towers such as the spire of Coventry’s old cathedral accessible and incredible, a panoramic viewing platform and space that remains amongst the rapidly changing landscape around it.