Unit 13 - Re-presenting the Pre-modern: Wellcome in Wandle

Unit led by AOC Architecture

About the show

Appropriate and socially participative show-stores in the Wandle Valley, developed with and for the Wellcome Collection.

Around 1880, Henry Wellcome set out ‘to collect the world’, passionately convinced of the communicative power of artifacts. Since his death in 1936 the bulk of his collection remains in store. Pre-modern in spirit, the collection is also resolutely Modern in its categorization and classification of human activity and objects. This dual-character gives it an interesting affinity with our site of inquiry, the Wandle Valley in south-west London. Transformed from Ruskin’s idyllic landscape of ‘meadows and manors’, to the most industrialised river in 19th century Europe, the Valley has subsequently integrated every wave of urbanization to become the archetypal contemporary English landscape.

We have spent the year developing appropriate architectures in response to this context, making proposals to store and re-present the Wellcome Collection’s two million artifacts in the Wandle Valley. We began by sampling items from the Collection and site, synthesizing them to create a characterful wallpaper. Considering the buildings’ potential contributions to the landscape, we re-appropriated Camillo Sitte to develop an experience-led design approach. In November we took a road trip from Switzerland to France, studying Basel’s art bunkers, Grenoble’s university greenhouses and Marseille’s cultural sheds. A study of the storage shed typology, from the Temple of Delphi to Schaulager, helped define our spatial concerns and initiated an exploration of the potential for public access to stored artifacts. We immersed ourselves in the collection and made proposals for spaces in which to store and view the collection, re-considering the relationship between visitor, artifact and space to create appropriate and socially participative show-stores.

Welcome Show Store: Hackbridge External View By James Sale

Exhibition details

P.V. Tuesday 25 June 2013, 6.30-10pm
Opening Wed 26 June - Fri 5 July 2013
Mon-Fri 10am-7pm, Sat 11am-5pm
Venue Spring House (Ground Floor)
Unit Architecture Unit 13
Course Professional Diploma in Architecture RIBA Part 2
Architecture (MA)

Year 5

Lucas Dowsett
Fiona Giles
Nkesi Nduka
Jessica Parsley
Thomas Reekie
James Sale
Rory Saunders
Harry Wilkins
Ayesha Wynne

Year 4

Matthew McAleese
Lily Nicholls
Alexandra Reed
Rich Worth
Zana Ziad

Clara Ahlvik
Jon Buck
Matthew Butcher
Dominic Cullinan
Oliver Goodhall
Will Haggard
Graham Haworth
Simon Henley
Jonathan Hill
Charles Holland
Catherine Ince
Tomas Klassnik
Vincent Lacovara
Kieran Long
Abigail Matthews
Angie Pascoe
James Payne
Peter St John
Oliver Winchester