Building London, 2009

Building London, 2009

London is full of fantastic buildings originally designed for many purposes; some to mark a specific event such as Monument for the Great Fire of London, others, such as Tate Britain, were designed to exhibit a national collection, and others, such as Tate Modern, whose original purpose (power station) had become redundant, replaced by a totally new and unforeseen function (Art Gallery/Museum).

The aim of this project was to work with a number of children from Shacklewell Primary School in Dalston, Hackney to produce photographic images that represent their developing ideas on how buildings in London may mean different things to different people.

The project was led by the school’s then Head of Art, Jim Grant.  The children worked with digital cameras and photographic manipulation software to explore an idea of architecture that Architectural Historian Aoife Mac Namara  explains: ‘How buildings mean what they do to different people, at different times and different contexts has as much to do with the way they are used and encountered by their publics, as it has to do with the original design of the architect’. 

In essence the children created images of buildings or parts of buildings in ways that indicate that what a building may ‘stand for’ or ‘function as’ is not fixed by the architect but is forever changing in relation to those who use or encounter the material form.

As such, their interests in sliding down the slope in the Turbine Hall in Tate Modern, looking from the windows on a bus, using the lifts in St Pancras Station and talking to those who work within some of the buildings are explored and captured within the images they selected for this exhibition. 

The project was commissioned by HS Projects and funded under the Insight Community Arts Programme.