London in a different light

12 Dec 2011

Creative London-based initiative sparks discussion about architecture’s role in rebuilding lives

A recent project led by partner of Allies & Morrison, Tim Makower and UK charity Article 25 has emphasised the significant role that architecture can play in rebuilding lives.

Entitled 10x10, the initiative split the City of London into a grid of 100 squares which were individually allocated to renowned architects, artists and designers. With their given grid reference, participants had the task of innovatively recreating a chosen aspect of its built environment through drawing, painting, photography, print and collage.

Their creations were auctioned in association with Sotheby’s on Thursday 1st December, with all proceeds going to Article 25’s on-going international projects, which focus on the designing and rebuilding of populated areas stricken by natural disasters and poverty.

On a dedicated weekend in October, the participants set off to their respective destinations within London’s Square Mile in search of an original angle on these well-known cityscapes. Encouraged to see objectively, the artists strove to find an element of the extraordinary within these mundane backdrops; amidst the Occupy protests, this re-evaluation of ordinary sights echoed the political stir that has simultaneously pervaded London’s streets.

The results of the project, which saw offerings from prestigious names including Lord Norman Foster, Sir Terry Farrell, Angela Brady, Greg Penorye, Sunand Prasad, Peter Murray and Grand Designs' Kevin McCloud ranged from watercolour to abstract painting to Bauhaus-inspired collage. Each of the 100 pieces of artwork was put together in a creative re-forming of the City displayed at the German Gymnasium, part of the new Kings Cross Central Development, on Wednesday 30th November prior to the auction. Within the stunning architecture of the Gymnasium itself, the work was elegantly displayed on easels and sheet-music stands around its peripheries.

Several of the artists gave presentations during the evening and discussed the ideas that informed their work, with the notion of London’s hotchpotch assemblage of archaic and modern architecture a recurring theme, whether interpreted positively or negatively.

Yet the charitable event fulfilled its primary intention by raising an impressive £60,000 in the live auction, providing essential funds for post-disaster reconstruction work around the world.

Article 25 was set up in 2006 by leaders of the construction industry who recognised the lack of technical skills amongst international development NGOs working in the field. Their 50-plus projects in 22 countries, including a Media Centre in Port Harcourt in Nigeria and school improvements in Burkina Faso, have earned the organisation recognition as the UK’s leading architectural aid charity by national newspaper the Guardian in 2010. Article 25's trustees include Lord Norman Foster OM, Jack Pringle PPRIBA, Maxwell Hutchinson PPRIBA, Sunand Prasad PPRIBA, Peter Murray and Joe Giordano.

This was a collaborative project between Article 25, Tim Makower and Stephen Taylor of Allies and Morrison, NLA and Sotheby’s, sponsored by Argent and endorsed by the Mayor of London.

Amy Knight
Arts and Media Correspondent

Want to submit your project to World Architecture News?

Contact The Team