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Pipes Up perspective.jpg
LONDON, 2015-16
Pipes Up RCA Live Project

Pipes Up was an design initiative between St James, a leading property development company, Futurecity, a cultural placemaking agency and the architecture department at the RCA to define new narratives for public realms in the 21stcentury. The brief was to Deliver ‘design elements’, including seating, that support a range of uses including socialising, working, eating and play in the public realm. Create a design icon for Albert Embankment and St James, equal to the landmark architecture, that helps to support and create a coherent sense of place. Introduce and celebrate the area’s heritage whilst at the same time reflecting the new role this area will play as the gateway to Nine Elms. Symbolise the marriage of science, art, technology, design and industry - values inherent in the cultural diversity that encompasses Albert Embankment.


The site sits adjacent The Merano Residences by Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners and the Dumont by David Walker architects. The project was developed as an internal student design competition where the winning team would develop and follow construction of the scheme. The competition process and the development and detail of the project was coordinated by Fernando Rihl. The project was developed to prototype stage where students made 1/1 model of fragments to test the design. The ceramic tiles were to be produced by Darwen, a ceramic company based in Blackburn, Lancashire where we developed one to one samples of the ceramic tiles. The budget was approx. 65K for prototyping, testing, fabrication, delivery, and installation. 


The theme of ceramic pipes derived from historical site analysis which showed the site was a ceramic manufacturer Royal Doulton.  Royal Doulton was one the first British makers of art pottery but in the 19th century Royal Doulton also made a vast variety of utilitarian ceramic sewage pipes for drains, lavatories and other bathroom ceramics. The company became known as manufacturer of circular ceramic pipes in 1846 to suppress the 1846-1860 cholera pandemic in London. 


Student Design Team: Amir Afshar, Niels Hersmann, Elliot Rogosin

Live Project Coordinator: Fernando Rihl 

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