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I am very proud to post that this month the Architectural Review features Kingston Unit 2 rather heavily, showing work of selected students including public house study drawings of The Grapes by Carlos Dos Santos, Thomas Sellers, Alexandra Bailey and myself. It also rates the unit in its article Top Ten London Architecture Units alongside units from institutions such as The Architectural Association and The Bartlett (UCL).

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I was thrilled to see that a portion of a large 1:20 section of the Grapes Public House created by Carlos Dos Santos, Alexandra Bailey, Thomas Sellers and myself in a recent edition of The Architects’ Journal. I was however disappointed when I noticed that the only credit for the work was given to Carlos. This is a shame because although a large amount of this particular portion of the section was done by Carlos and he has also been the stand out student of the year, which has resulted in him being put forward for the RIBA President’s Medals, it is upsetting that a piece of work that is a collaboration between four people is not acknowledged as such. The section not only required four skilled individuals but also their ability to work as part of a team to complete, and resulted in a piece of work we were all very proud of.

The aim of this project was to create something that sat comfortably. A building that was accepted by both Islamic and London cultures and that was happy in it’s context. It has taken heavily from Public Houses and addresses the corner of Shandy Park in a similar way to many examples such as The Wenlock Arms, breaking down any barrier threshold. The material selection of London Stock helps the structure to compliment it’s surroundings, being a exemplar of what can be achieved with the material. Ornamentation is kept subtle, especially on the street elevation, being used to signify the location of religious spaces and also creating visual barriers for private spaces. The rear elevations addressing the park are more extravagant in decoration but still in keeping with the scheme. Personally, I think it sits comfortably with a sense of belonging, in the true sense of the word.

One of the most important parts of this scheme is how the building addresses the corner of Shandy Park. Learning from the Wenlock Arms Public House, the corner of the proposed Shahjalal Mosque pushes right up to the boundary eliminating any privacy boundary that front gardens create. Here is an initial exterior perspective sketch to show this.

Not long ago I put up a post called Fashion Street, in which I applauded the attempt to create an building which featured elements from both typical Islamic and British vernaculars. Above is a partial elevation of my current proposal for the Shahjalal Mosque in Shandy Park. It attempts to create a hybrid of the two vernaculars taking from Public House, Industrial, Traditional Islamic and British Domestic styles. You can see the change in hierarchy in fenestration much like a London Terrace, the Brick Pattern inspired by Alvar Aalto’s Baker House and the Etched Glass, which covets the play on public/privacy with ornate patterns of a Pub’s window. All in an attempt to create a building that would feel at home in Britain or an Islamic nation.

A notable cast from the series which culminated in the Final Concrete Cast. This cube uses the skeleton frame as originally proposed, but when struck revealed a quite beautiful concrete finish with inserted clear acrylic pattern. The skeleton was retained rather than removed and the whole cube was worked to give the concrete a more rough texture to contrast with the smooth acrylic, which was also worked to give a frosted finish.

The culmination of a series of concrete casts as discussed in Concrete Cube, Concrete Construction and Concrete Shuttering is shown above. A negative version of previously proposed versions, the contrast between where the aggregate has been exposed and the smooth finish from the shuttering is remarkable. The wallpaper pattern taken from The Grapes public house has been used to protect part of the cube whilst the exposed concrete has been worked back to reveal, in this case, recycled green glass aggregate.

Above shows the second version of the proposed Shahjalal Mosque in Shandy Park. Already shown in Mosque V2 Modeling, it uses pattern work previously discussed in Brick Pattern, Paving Pattern and Etching Pattern, whilst combing styles of traditional Islamic and English domestic and industrial styles as shown in Power Pub and Collision Course. It does not however work programatically and lets itself down by not revealing it’s inspiration in elevational detailing.

A work in progress.

The use of etched glass in public house fenestration is the perfect marriage of function and decoration. Used as a screen for privacy whilst also allowing light into a space, they are highly detailed ornamentation pieces. Much like wallpaper, the use of decorative patterns adds a sense of domesticity to a space, blurring the line between what is private and what is public.

The image shown is an illustration of how brickwork or paving blockwork could be cut to interlock structurally and create a spinning motif, which is one of the most frequently recurring patterns in Islamic art. Taken from Islamic Patterns by Keith Critchlow, I especially like it if used in the main foyer space. Orientated in the right way it aligns with both axis the proposed Mosque deals with with, that of the existing fabric and of Mecca, as discussed in Site Axis. It also starts to address the detailed domesticity that the Wallpaper gives The Grapes Public House.