Southwyck Open House by Andreas Panagidis, Nayia Savva
In 1949 Aneurin Bevan, minister for health and housing, promoted a vision where “the working man, the doctor and the clergyman will live in close proximity to each other”. Currently in London, the social diversity that is vital to public spaces is gradually being compromised as market forces are day by day threatening local communities, especially in neighbourhoods where council housing estates are being replaced by private developments. We would like to address the space that lies in-between the public realm of the street and the private realm of the home as a platform for recognition as well as representation of cultural, social and political concerns for the residents of London.
Our idea of a re-politicization of public space brings familiar elements of the household out into the street in order to visually articulate a conversation between the two realms. By involving the community in the placement and the appropriation of these elements, we anticipate that resident participation will encourage a discussion to develop from the initial stages and evolve as the space changes according to the occasion.
Events such as local residents’ meetings, public speakings and even jumble sales are examples of the kind of activities envisioned that will offer opportunities for conversation, whilst during the day-to-day, the space may function simply as a playground. Keeping ownership public and access open, the space would act as an experimental stage for various forms of exchange and collaboration.
Due to the specific facade of the Southwyck house, this common in-between space would also function as a mechanism to reconnect the otherwise inward-looking estate to the street. The social value created by this private-public interaction will remain within the hands of the children and adults involved in activating this user-defined open-house.
Andreas studied architecture at the Glasgow School of Art and the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. He has experience in urban design competitions and in personal research regarding the public realm.
In this competition he has organised the off-site research, carried out the design strategy and collaborated with his team-member in developing the presentation and written rationale of the design.
Nayia is currently studying Fine Art at Camberwell College of Arts and is a long-time resident of Brixton. She has been involved in the initial stages of project conceptualisation, drawing from her own knowledge as an artist, her ability to visually communicate multifaceted ideas, as well as her experience as a local resident.