Gig House
London, UK
Academic project at The Cass, London
Tutors: Stephen Taylor and Theodoros Thysiades

By challenging and developing the idea of Collective Dwelling, buildings such as Albert Hall Mansions and Albert Court have become prototypes of shared living in England. This project explores contemporary ways in which the culture of living collectively can be challenged further by moving away from clearly defined areas of private, semi-private and public spaces into the realm of spaces devoid of defined purposes. These spaces can be enclosed and privatized or can be gifted to the cluster of collective spaces, adding to and transforming the outline of the common room.

Two ‘City Rooms’ define the civic character of the project. The ‘Music Room’ on the first floor of the building and the civic space in form of the plinth. The ambition is to reinforce and give a more public face to the already existing idea of the ‘Music City’ as part of the greater idea of the ‘City of Culture and Science’ which Prince Albert had in mind.

A satellite to the Albert Hall, the ‘Music Room’ is a more ad-hoc performance space, where young, non-established musicians can live and work above their shop, the space which de nes what they are.

The space created by the four existing buildings: Albert Hall, Albert Court, Imperial College Union and e Royal College of Music is carved and de ned by a plinth and a triangular building.

The composition of plinth and triangle acknowledges the asymmetrical importance of the two East and West elevations, creating three different spaces: the public garden spilling out into the street, the raised civic space and a private intimate garden belonging to the existing Imperial College Union.

The approach to construction and materials is not a tectonic one but one which seeks the elegance of the English plated armors, a building clad in plain and in ornamented clay tiles. The materiality, form making and exuberance of the building’s faces seeks an elegance which sits between Arts and Crafts Mansion blocks and Classical or even Baroque buildings.

The South and East elevations are wrapped in Parisian balconies, an intermediate space which mediates between the city and the facade. This is a way of inhabiting the facade and taking ownership of the higher levels by walking and sitting along their skin. These balconies use the concave and convex language of the baroque to create narrow areas which suggest movement and more generous areas which invite pause and inhabitation.

The building is not be shy of its condition of wearing a costume and is expressing its status of being dressed and adorned in the same way a knight is wearing an armor or a baroque building is dressed in stone.