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A Machine á performer
TRIBUNE. A Machine á performer is an urban infrastructure project designed to host East Asian performances. Located in Canada Water, an area with the largest East Asian population in Greater London, the project sits next to a lake, equal in distance from both the tube station and the local market. The proposal seeks to reveal London's hidden East Asian culture through the potential of its performance activities, a powerful tool for staging foreign culture. In particular, the design intends to find a new way of expressing the culture of East Asian performances while challenging its canonical stage design. Whilst, traditionally, such performances are contained within an indoor space, this proposal also opens towards the street and the surrounding outdoor space. This particular strategy will eventually open the world of East Asian performance towards a much broader audience in London, allowing it to be shared by everyone. Another aim of the project is to express the uniqueness of East Asian performances even within an outdoor and open space, since it is usually created indoors through a very flexible timber structure, used for ephemeral installations, as a very representative feature of the culture.
Since the site extends along the axis which connects the tube station to the central market, the project addresses both the people whose daily walk takes them along the path and those who might stop to participate with the performance. In order to provide for these two different rituals, the project is articulated at two levels: the upper part is a long tribune that can host up to 2500 people, and the bottom one is a 190m open-air corridor dedicated to the actual performance. The tribune acts as a multifunctional platform, composed as a space for the audience and also as a parade deck, which can be accessed by everyone, for holding daily rituals like fishing or special ceremonies and processions. On the lower ground, a long covered street includes both space for smaller performances and the backstage area, which is hidden under the parade deck. Unlike most theatres in London, which prohibit drinking and eating during the performance, here it is possible to taste cups of tea throughout its duration, in order to re-create the typical atmosphere of an East Asian performance; tea making and tasting programmes are, in fact, located next to the backstage area under the deck.
Savage architecture is about freedom within an open space: people walking, eating and drinking within this continuous and open circulation; they can sit, skate, sleep and meet friends while sitting on the multi-layered long benches. Furthermore, the proximity to the lake allows access to the space via water, where the project provides a storage for all sorts of boats.
The project of a performance space becomes here a 'machine á performer', an urban infrastructure that fosters new everyday rituals as well as organised and choreographed celebratory events, which experiment with the relationship between Western and Eastern culture as it comes together in Canada Water.
School of Architecture
- BA (Hons). Architecture, University of Hong Kong, 2015 (RIBA. Part I)
- Architectural Assistant, P&T Architects, Hong Kong, 2015-16
- Honourable Mention, Innovative Minds, 2016; Honourable Mention, Volume Zero, 2018