Status: Competition (2014)
Types: Intervention, Public space
Transforming no-places into new public spaces. Working on a city means taking into consideration the issues of a possible future without coming down to an attitude of specific and individual construction. The aim is to link the territories together, revealing their own identities, trying to use the “already-there”, the mutable and the forgotten. The city will then become a web of relationships rather than a collection of objects.
The banks of the Regent’s canal are composed of compact urban densities, sequenced by open landscape structures. It is an environment that conveys urban and non-urban, pastoral and non-pastoral elements.
The suggested creation of a new place of worship in London is based on a diagnosis of the current condition of the banks of this canal. The thinking process leads to a citywide project rather than an immediate response from a signal building. From Limehouse Basin overlooking the River Thames in the East to Paddington Branch in the West, 21 sites were selected to represent a range of possibilities.
Offering a new interactive community in favour of mixing identities. Mobility is a key stake of a development strategy in our society nowadays. In line with the Bookmobile, the current craze of Food Trucks and other travelling trucks, Worship Ships come to you. You no longer need to go to a conventional place of worship. These new boats offer a more “contemporary and attractive” perspective of religion, adapted to a city-dweller who is in a constant rush, yet eager to experience more and more.
Worship Ships are generic, without any architectural distinction. The way it is used clearly sets the identity of a ceremony and its religion, for the benefit of a scenic space that optimized and adaptable to different berthing situations: stage charter, screen boat, chapel boat, linking boat…
On a daily basis, Worship Ships inform their community about the berthing area along the canal, either on their website or on social networks. An online boat-geolocalization system thus provides all the necessary information to join them.
Generating a new mesh of public spaces ensuring homogeneous distribution of religions in the city. Operated by urban exploration along the navigable waterway, the purpose is to collect data about public areas of the urban landscape which are abandoned all or part time, with the intention of accessing and using them. One-off low-cost interventions bring new ways of use: bleachers, viewpoints/gazebos, pathways, pontoons… It is a plan that evolves in time, indifferently adapting itself to the “already-there”, in order to reveal their intrinsic condition. A walk that highlights the possible situations, questions of fact and potential speculations, making religion public by placing it in a space shared by all.
This thinking process captures the programme as a pretext for a new plan of action that could apply to other uses: cultural, sporting, educational purposes… and activate other natural or artificial infrastructures within the city.