Thoughtfully balancing industrial history with twentieth-century references, Barozzi Veiga’s Artists’ Ateliers bring a minimalist elegance to London’s Design District.
The Design District in the Greenwich Peninsula is a new one-hectare neighbourhood of 16 buildings that will provide a permanent base for creative businesses to trade, interact and grow. Eight emerging architectural practices selected across Europe have been given a pair of buildings to design independently and ‘blind’ from each other, creating a provocative diversity of colour and form.
The two buildings by Barozzi Veiga are simple and elegant volumes that seek to have an adequate proportion with their surroundings. The reflection of light on the polished aluminium facades of the buildings changes throughout the day and appears different in each season. All year round, they give luminosity to the surrounding courtyards and alleys. The buildings are designed with photographers, artists and sculptors in mind: large windows, external staircases and high ceilings.
The appearance of the two volumes expresses the idea of creating a single project made up of a pair of figures, chromatically opposed, but in dialogue with each other. The chromatic differences provide two moments along the path through the district while evidently stemming from a unitary design logic.
The reflective materiality dissolves the buildings into the future context and makes them participate in the life of the neighbourhood, absorbing and reflecting the light and colours of the surrounding environment as they change with the passage of the day and the seasons. As a whole, the design echoes the industrial history of the area and the charm of some iconic twentieth-century references while generating an abstract backdrop to the urban life of the Design District.