Shift Happens: Critical visions of London

Four young architects are looking to find innovative solutions for pressing issues facing London’s future.

One proposes a partnership of private enterprises exploiting the happiness index in order to create a new social housing model.

Another suggests how the London stock exchange can reach a mutual agreement with the Church of England to archive its data safeguarding both their futures.

One young architect questions how environmentalism can work with genetic engineering to form a consumerist eco-industry where factory and nature merge as another explores a reverse imperialism where socialist façadism conceals hidden capitalist agenda through inviting partner nations to earn their aid.

The four graduates from the Royal College of Art are exhibiting their work in London as part of Shift Happens in August.

A Happy Thamesmeadium by Craig Allen

‘From April next year we will start measuring our progress as a country not just by how our economy is growing, but by how our lives are improving, not just by our standard of living, but by our quality of life,’ stated UK prime minister David Cameron on 25 November 2010.

It’s 2021. The British government’s newly-established Office of National Well-being has partnered with the Office of National Statistics. Private enterprises begin to adapt a set of tactics in order to convince local authorities of their capability to provide the best realisations of the governments’ happiness targets.

Candy & Candy [developer of luxury residential building One Hyde Park in London], look toward Thamesmead – an area with the highest levels of negative equity, mortgage fraud and repossessions in the capital – as virgin land for lucrative investment towards creating its very own twenty-first century Happy Grosvenor Estate.

What if private enterprise exploited the happiness index?

This project speculates on the developer Candy & Candy turning its focus away from the luxury market and towards social housing.

By designing in value plucked from the happiness index and establishing a funding partnership with Coca-Cola’s Institute of Happiness, a new saccharin social housing model begins to emerge in a Thamesmead divided up into an archipelago and reliant upon the arrival of Crossrail.

Repository of the Eternal Now by Robert Ware

Cyberattacks threaten increasingly vulnerable digital data whilst technologies dictate that we continually rely on its ubiquity. The country’s economy thrives off global trade establishing the London Stock Exchange as a principal terrorist target. The Church of England invests £4.5 billion in the Stock Market as donations from churchgoers decline, so an interdependent solution uses new technologies to 3-dimensionally print volatile, digital stock market stat in stone in a perverse regression, providing a prophylaxis to modern terror and bestowing mutual longevity upon both the church and the economy.

My addition to St Paul’s Cathedral continuously builds itself up in real-time using data from the 41 stock market industry sectors, safely archiving the subsequent physical data in towers which grow in relation to the sector’s success. The repository finally fulfils Wren’s unaccomplished ambition for St. Paul’s incorporating a stark, securocratic exterior with a dynamic interior richly adorned with intertwining iconographies.

Free Tr[aid] by James Christian

Free Tr[aid] imagines a future in which further budgetary constraints has lead to the privatisation of the UK’s international aid commitments. Through a mechanism of ‘reverse imperialism’, the UK invites partner nations to earn their own aid by establishing self-run territories on British soil.

Located in the hinterlands between the North Circular Road and the Brent Reservoir, the project explores the development of an Indian ‘Aid Earning Zone’ in suburban London, examining the associated political and cultural tensions. Is a thin façade of socialist rhetoric enough to conceal the high-capitalism lurking beneath?

Human Nature by Marie Kojzar

In 2021, the government’s privatisation of nature has changed the English landscape and its value. The world of luxury goods sees an opportunity to capitalise on enhancements and improved beauty from genetic engineering as well as a growing demand from eco-guilty consumers who have lost their faith in climate science.

Responding to dichotomies in human behaviour, the eco-industry sees possibility in a genetically engineered nature, ensuring an authentic concern for environmental conservation through consumer attractions: a perception of nature hanging between heritage and haute couture.

Human nature: the Landscape of Desire proposes a new nature and material factory for luxury goods masqueraded as a revamped eco-industry located in Epping Forest. The proposal seeks to merge architecture and landscape into a new industry to be unveiled at the Festival of Britain 2021.

The material production facilities use the forest landscape as a pallet to engage with a new holistic architecture in which forum meets harvest and order meets chaos.

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