July 6, 2015
Architecture Innovation Visual arts

An Aerial View was exhibited in Somerset House, as part of an RIBA exhibition on forgotten spaces.
Financed by public money, the BT tower was built to support the aerials which formed the centrepiece of the UK’s telecommunications network. The tower was closed to the public in 1980, and the redundant aerials were removed in 2011.
An Aerial View starts by circumscribing the decommissioned aerial galleries with a dense curtain, as a sympathetic, minimally intrusive and dramatic means of transforming the iconicity of the BT tower. By veiling this section of the tower, our proposal forces the viewer to confront and question their familiarity with and relationship to this historic building.
Furthermore, the curtain encloses and shelters these floors, metamorphosing this section of the tower from a decommissioned piece of public infrastructure into an inhabitable public space. The existing building fabric and plan form will remain largely untouched, and the spaces will be lightly furnished to accommodate a wide array of different activities and uses. These will include: a telecommunications museum, viewing galleries, a performance space, a dining area, and spaces for gigs and functions.
The curtain is operable and can peel back to afford views across London as well as revealing the building’s new public inhabitation to the street.
Location: Fitzrovia, London
Status: Research
Budget: n/a
Source: OMMX website