Frieze Art Fair Pavilions Kevin Carmody | Yellowtrace

Frieze Art Fair Pavilions Kevin Carmody | Yellowtrace

Frieze Art Fair Pavilions Kevin Carmody | Yellowtrace
Over three consecutive years (2011-2013), Carmody Groarke developed a concept for Frieze Art Fair that balanced the quality of the art space, the social experience and the existing context. The architectural idea was to construct a series of interlinked, translucent pavilions surrounding the perimeter of the large exhibition tents. The pavilions, located adjacent to the exhibition spaces, were constructed as timber-lined “rooms” arranged around the existing trees within the park.

July Memorial Kevin Carmody | Yellowtrace

July Memorial Kevin Carmody | Yellowtrace

July Memorial Kevin Carmody | Yellowtrace
Working closely with the families of the victims of the 7 July 2005 bombings, Carmody Groarke designed a permanent memorial to commemorate the worst terrorist attacks in peacetime London. The singular and collective loss inflicted by the bombings have informed the character of the memorial. Fifty-two 85kg stainless steel cast vertical pillars, each representing one of the 52 lives lost. Through the language of abstract architecture, the memorial is intended to be a symbol of reconciliation for the families, as well as a permanent reminder for generations to come of the devastating effects of the bombings.

Members Room by Carmody Groarke | Yellowtrace

Members Room by Carmody Groarke | Yellowtrace

Members Room by Carmody Groarke | Yellowtrace
Members Room by Carmody Groarke | Yellowtrace

Victoria & Albert Museum’s Members Room by Carmody Groarke. The design has subtly restored and retained existing spatial character and detail, and where appropriate, reinvented architectural features including lighting and furniture.

 

The idea that architecture touches and guides all facets and corners of the lives we lead—from the mundane, to the emotional, the commemorative, cerebral, celebratory, sad, thrilling, temporary, indoor, outdoor, urban, and otherwise—is a simple, but mostly underrated thought. The thinking behind the buildings in a city will navigate the years to come, set the lay of the land, and pilot—in one way or another—the way we lead our lives. The way we will remember the past, dream of the future, or speculate the present.

This is Kevin Carmody of Carmody Groarke‘s ‘Territory of Architecture’—his pretty profound appreciation of the impact, the interconnectivity, and the power in the bones and life of a building.

 

Kevin Carmody x Brickworks Event | Yellowtrace

Kevin Carmody x Brickworks Event | Yellowtrace

Kevin Carmody x Brickworks Event | Yellowtrace
Images from Kevin Carmody’s ‘Territory of Architecture’ lecture held at Bricksworks Sydney Studio. The lecture was the first for Brickworks International Speaker Series for this year, an event inagurated in 2016.

 

Addressing a rapt, intimate gathering at Brickwork‘s new design studio in Sydney—Kevin begins his ‘Territory of Architecture’ lecture with William Hogarth’s infamous etching, Gin Lane. If you’ve never seen the artwork, it’s a hellish vision of a crowded and depraved central London borough in the 18th century, with buildings layered haphazardly towards the steeple of St George’s Bloomsbury church.

“I’d like to start by talking about London—it feels relevant sitting in Sydney,” says Kevin, who is a Canberra-native but shipped over to the UK in the late 90s, met Andrew Groarke while working for David Chipperfield, and founded Carmody Groarke in the British capital in 2006. “London is an unruly, messy, mercantile city,” he continues. “It has been shaped by both internal, and external forces.”

 

Gin Lane William Hogarth Kevin Carmody | Yellowtrace
Gin Lane by William Hogarth. Image courtesy of Tate.

Carmody Groarke Studio in London | Yellowtrace
Entrance to Carmody Groarke’s Studio in London.

 

For Kevin, Gin Lane illustrates a few things. It depicts a spot near to the location of the Carmody Groarke studio in Shorts Gardens, as a start. More metaphorically, however, Kevin sees it as an exaggerated but somehow realistic scene. A reminder that “a city is an accumulation of things, not just one thing… and that architecture is the backdrop to real life.”

 

Studio East Dining Kevin Carmody | Yellowtrace

Studio East Dining Kevin Carmody | Yellowtrace

Studio East Dining Kevin Carmody | Yellowtrace

Studio East Dining Kevin Carmody | Yellowtrace
Studio East Dining was built on top of a 35m high multi-storey car park within the live construction site of Westfield Stratford City development in East London. The temporary pavilion provided elevated views across London’s 2012 Olympic site. The project was built within ten weeks from initial briefing to opening night. With a lifespan of only three weeks, the 800m2 lightweight structure was constructed with hired materials borrowed from the existing construction site.

 

In Carmody Groarke’s 11 years, the practice has viewed its work as a public, civic quest. This bigger picture, almost fringe approach has earned them accolades even in their earliest of days, like the New York Prize for Architecture, the Architectural Review Emerging Architecture Award, and the D&AD Yellow Pencil Award for spatial design. Their projects have received several RIBA National, Regional, and Special awards, including most recently—a Regional award for a new build private house made of red bricks in Highgate, North London.

From their sprawling temporary marquee for Frieze Art Fair, to Studio East Dining for the London Olympics, and their award-winning 7 July Memorial – each Carmody Groarke project is an eye-opener to a wider field view of architecture—resistant to what’s been defined before. To say they work innovatively, or outside the box doesn’t really cut it. It’s what you could call a human-centred approach, in which their client is the city and its people and their future. Here are just a select few of our favourite Carmody Groarke ideas.

 

Temporary Museum at Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Hill House | Yellowtrace

Temporary Museum at Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Hill House | Yellowtrace

Temporary Museum at Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Hill House | Yellowtrace

Temporary Museum at Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Hill House | Yellowtrace
Temporary Museum at Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Hill House.

 

Temporary Museum at Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Hill House // One of Scotland’s most significant architectural icons—Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s 1938 Hill House, some 30km west of Glasgow—needed to close for conservation works that could run for as long as 12 years. Rather than board up the home, which was usually open to the public, the National Trust of Scotland wanted to create a temporary museum, either near or next to the building as its water damaged walls underwent a decade-long restoration.

Carmody Groarke’s idea was not to shift focus away from the Charles Rennie Mackintosh site, but rather to encase and shield it—as a precious artefact might be both exhibited and preserved within a display cabinet in a history museum. Though, their proposition for a temporary museum was far more interconnected with the landscape and the very essence of the site in the present.

A delicate, transparent box like enclosure made of perforated mesh and placed over the top of the original building will allow uninterrupted views, night-and-day, to-and-from the landscape to Mackintosh’s architectural icon. And inside, an elevated viewing walkway loops up, over, and around the house. All the while, the semi-permanent enclosure will provide shelter and allow the rain-soaked walls of the home to fully dry out.

 

Highgate House Kevin Carmody | Yellowtrace

Highgate House Kevin Carmody | Yellowtrace
Highgate House Kevin Carmody | Yellowtrace
Highgate House Kevin Carmody | Yellowtrace
Highgate House Kevin Carmody | Yellowtrace
Highgate House Kevin Carmody | Yellowtrace
Highgate House Kevin Carmody | Yellowtrace

Highgate House Kevin Carmody | Yellowtrace
Highgate House.

 

Highgate House // For this London family home near Highgate Wood, Carmody Groarke decided to use brick as a sculptural, structural, and contextual device. Although mostly abstract in its use (covering all surfaces inside and out), the bold red brick also connects with the traditional craft embedded in the eclectic architecture of the neighbourhood. The three commanding brick volumes of the home are at once new and old—making up a modern, minimalist home, that’s still rooted in its landscape and local history and in English suburbia.

 

Rectory Farm Kevin Carmody | Yellowtrace

Rectory Farm Kevin Carmody | Yellowtrace

Rectory Farm Kevin Carmody | Yellowtrace

Rectory Farm Kevin Carmody | Yellowtrace
Rectory Farm.

 

Rectory Farm in Hounslow // Rectory Farm may be one of Carmody Groarke’s most ‘outside the box’ projects to date. A part of London’s Green Belt, the 44-acre, arrow-shaped plot of land near Heathrow Airport fell into disuse in 1996. Over the next decade, the firm will transform the farm into a vast public park – but also a minimum mineral reserve as set out by the London Plan.

Miraculously, the park will remain open and accessible during mineral extraction. The mineral extraction will take place discreetly beneath the park’s surface through an innovative ‘top-down’ construction method, whereby the process is contained below ground. And after the gravel is excavated, Carmody Groarke will leave a 180,000 sqm concrete basement beneath the park – a subterranean lettable warehouse space, which will provide for the upkeep of the park.

 

Park Hill Art Space Kevin Carmody | Yellowtrace

Park Hill Art Space Kevin Carmody | Yellowtrace Park Hill Art Space in Sheffield.

 

Park Hill Art Space // Built in Sheffield between 1957 and 1961, Park Hill housing estate was one of the largest council-owned estates in the UK. At the time, it was a visionary concept – with several angular slab blocks forming ‘streets in the sky’. After being totally vacated by the mid-1990s, it was granted Grade II Listed status and remains to be Europe’s largest heritage structure.

Now, Park Hill is being reinvented as public and private housing – and a major new international arts venue titled S1 Artspace. Carmody Groarke’s idea to shape 7,200 sqm into a purpose-built gallery and artist studios won an international competition for S1’s design. The idea will follow the council architect’s original vision of a topographical relationship of architecture to landscape, and the hefty brutalist concrete frame will be softened and opened out into flexible spaces for making and showing art.

 

The Filling Station Kevin Carmody | Yellowtrace

The Filling Station Kevin Carmody | Yellowtrace

The Filling Station Kevin Carmody | Yellowtrace The Filling Station, conversion of a derelict petrol station in King’s Cross in 2012.

 

The Filling Station // So many of Carmody Groarke’s projects are a lesson in the most authentic place-making – like S1 Artspace and Rectory Farm, The Filling Station in London’s King’s Cross brought life to a forgotten and abandoned slice of the UK. Essentially, the firm converted an old petrol station into a new, temporary external public events space and diner-style restaurant, overlooking the Regent’s Canal.

Designed to be a placeholder for a new mixed-use development, it was more like the sort of regeneration you might witness in Berlin. It was hugely popular and turned over a profit, hosting performances, exhibitions, lectures, and artistic collaborations. Like Highgate House, The Filling Station referenced the site’s post-industrial past, but also suggested alternative ways of inhabiting and participating in a city, and alluded to the future use of the site.

 

Words by Sammy Preston.

 

Kevin Carmody x Brickworks Event | Yellowtrace

Kevin Carmody x Brickworks Event | Yellowtrace

Kevin Carmody x Brickworks Event | Yellowtrace
Images from Kevin Carmody’s ‘Territory of Architecture’ lecture held at Bricksworks Sydney Studio. Brickworks International Speaker Series is curated by Sydney-based architect, speaker, writer and advisor, Stephen Varady.

 

This Yellowtrace Promotion was created in partnership with Brickworks Building Products. Kevin Carmody was in Australia as a guest speaker for Brickworks International Speaker Series for 2018. This speaker series was initiated in 2016 by Brickworks, in their ongoing commitment to supporting architecture in Australia. The events have seen an impressive list of architects from around the globe tour Australia to share insight from their exciting and groundbreaking body of work.

 


[Images courtesy of Carmody Groarke and Brickworks.]

 

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