For London Festival of Architecture 2016, we played an architectural version of Consequences with local community groups from the Coin Street area. The absurd outcomes were exhibited at Oxo Tower Wharf from June 16th - July 4th 2016.
EXHIBITION / COMMUNITY / CONSULTATION
London Festival of Architecture / 2016
In consultations about proposed urban developments, the individual’s voice often seems to be drowned out. But what would happen if every member of a community really did get what they wanted?
In Community Consequences we used the parlour game of Consequences as a playful vehicle to explore the shared interests that define a community, and to examine the roles of conversation, co-operation and compromise in designing the built environment.
To play Consequences, a word or a phrase is written down as a response to one of eleven questions. After each question, the paper is folded and passed on to the next player. The result is a collection of surreal short stories authored collectively by the group, with nobody seeing the cumulative narrative until it is read aloud at the end of the game.
In this version of the game, participants from community groups in and around the Coin Street area concocted a fantasy development to enhance their neighbourhood. This absurd method asks whether an architectural process built upon principles of individualism and chance could reveal aspirations that other modes of production overlook. Could this amalgamation of individual voices demonstrate a community’s united ambition? Or would it reveal a fractured fantasy of divergent concerns?
The stories, transformed into playful models in the gallery and courtyard, reveal the practical preoccupations and outlandish fancies of the community groups, but they also reflect the communities’ common goals and their socio-political context. A drawing table presents an opportunity for visitors to design their ideal city, and – in the role of the planning or design authority - to comment on the ideas of others.
In exploring themes of shared-authorship, collectivity and chance, the exhibition poked traditional community consultations gently in the ribs, and asks if alternative methods of investigation could result in better buildings, happier people, and more slides.
With thanks to Balfour Street Housing Group, Coin Street Youth Club, Coin Street Family Support Group and the tenants of Gabriel’s Wharf. Extra special thanks to Da Yeong Kwon.
Read more about our thoughts on community and consultations over at the LFA blog.
Photography by Katherine Leedale