Exhibition: 25.06.2013 – 05.07.2013

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

Welcome Show Store: Hackbridge External View By James Sale

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.

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)


The Wellcome table is a semi curated space that today’s visitors curate for tomorrows visitors to see as they order or and bring new objects to the table.

Wellcome Workshops animate subjects drawn from objects within the collection encouraging social interaction, education and exploration.

A Continuous table winds though the stacks serving as both a path through and interface with the collection, Both a place to study objects and also a springboard for a delving deeper.

The Wellcome table is a semi curated space that today’s visitors curate for tomorrows visitors to see as they order or and bring new objects to the table.

The Wellcome Collection Show-Store seeks to have a strong relationship with the Red Lion pub, village green and cottages that represent the historic centre of Hackbridge.

Spaces within the Storage Hall are defined by a timber lattice. The roof trusses are translated as a decorative motif in the smaller concrete rooms.

The galleried Storage Hall houses the majority of the collection in a basement. Visitors are encouraged to explore this space, browsing the Wellcome Collection’s many curios.

Sectional perspective of Jean et Claude Prouvé’s Alpexpo Exhibition Centre, Grenoble.

View of the proposed entrance to the Wellcome Collection Showstore from London Road, Mitcham Junction.

The Proposal shapes new plazas. Clad with glazing which incorporates red expanded mesh, the building appears as a simple form, reflecting the Parkland around it.

Ten mirrored silos stride between an axial avenue of trees. Sized and scaled to represent an abstracted analogue of those trees.

The facade of the proposal works to firmly establish the Wellcome’s own individual identity whilst acting as a shop window for the collection to be displayed in.

Embedding the objects within the façade ensures the permanence of a building, in a site full of sheds that are very temporary.

Site and exploded Axonometrics showing context and construction of the ShowStore.

Site and exploded axonometrics showing context and construction of the ShowStore.

A wallpaper design representing the Wandle Valley and the Wellcome Collection, tackling the observations, experiences and relationsips they share.

The approach towards the linear propsoal from within the new public space, exploring the realtionship the building produces with the existing context of the site.

Illustrates the vast arrangement of the imposed geometric grid within, and the elevations explore how the façade begins to create a relationship between the inside and the outside.

Explores how visitors discover the collection and how the form and openings within the proposal enhances the examination of the collection while offering views of the field beyond.


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