Create X Waltham Forest Council
The junction of Hoe Street and Greenleaf Road sits halfway along Hoe Street and equidistant between Walthamstow underground/bus station and the William Morris Gallery. The immediate corner junction sits opposite the Rose and Crown public house in a densely populated area made up largely of ground floor retail units, first-floor flats and the surrounding streets consisting of a combination of private/rental homes and flats.
On approach along Hoe Street, it is evident the terraces and surrounding public space has experienced a large number of alterations over the decades – to street frontages, shopfronts, street furniture, structures and use. These modifications have led to a visually disjointed and convoluted streetscape which at times leads to congestion and conflict between pedestrian and vehicle users. The recent introduction of ‘Mini Holland’ and traffic calming ‘Copenhagen’ crossings along Hoe Street and across Waltham Forest sought to prioritise the pedestrian and slow down traffic to address this issue but were implemented with little consideration for the wider context which we feel is now important to address.
As a response to the site observations and having made make numerous trips past over the years our concept is to provide a form of animated (non-mechanical) drape which both conceals as well as manipulates the existing gable-end to create a responsive and alternating installation dependent on the viewer’s direction of approach or location.
Running along the side of No. 130 Hoe Street is a strip of what appears to be undefined land/boundary. Our proposal involved the installation of a lightweight steel billboard frame on to which timber fins are hung and mirrored in small-scale across the street. The interspersing of the fins can be either regular or otherwise but serves to create a fully independent facade sitting proud of the end gable and revealing glimpses of it behind as one moves past it.
In order to give the new vertical backdrop a human-scale the fins are split and offset at window head level and all existing window openings are accentuated by deep angular solid chamfers – to manipulate and animate the facade through both the use of artificial light leaving the rooms beyond, creating light-boxes.
One of the key observations from local people was the lack of sufficient street lighting causing the junction to feel threatening and unsafe at times. In order to address this, the proposed full-scale installation will house integrated (recessed) tubular lighting which can be automated to attract attention and therefore discourages the congregating of individuals in the darker corners of the site and bring them to where they are more readily visible upon approach. The backlit obelisk-like corner apex references that of the WF Town Hall forming a navigational beacon, halfway between the station and Lloyd Park / Bell Corner.
Competition Entry. May 2017