Whenever you design anything you should think of the city.
– Luigi Snozzi
Established by Andrew Clancy and Colm Moore in 2007, Clancy Moore Architects is a practice dedicated to creating beautiful spaces and objects through an open and collaborative process with clients and craftspeople.
Collaborating with TAKA and Steve Larkin, Clancy Moore have created the Red Pavilion which is on show at Lewis Cubitt Square throughout London Festival of Architecture, running for the month of June. We spoke to Andrew Clancy of Clancy Moore to discover more about the process behind the development of the Red Pavilion, his thoughts on architecture and what it was like to work in partnership on something so ambitious with three different architecture practices.
The idea to work together came before any specific idea about the pavilion. It came from a conversation – we felt that it would be nice to do something that could test an urban idea, test the scale of the city and the only way that we could do that was to work together.
Over the course of a long period of conversation and contemplation, the group came to define what form the project would take. Anchoring the idea around a quote from Luigi Snozzi – "when you design anything you should think of the city" – an architect admired by the group, they wanted to reflect the sense of architecture as a collective endeavour, in the same way as the creation of a city is a collective endeavour.
We were keen on the idea of creating a collective piece of work, something in which it would not be easy to discern individual authorship. We settled quicky on examining different forms of public space that exist as instances within a city. As architects, we’re often trained to think of public space at a large scale, we were keen to explore the compexity and diversity of the city. We settled on the idea of a façade as a piece of public space and as a mediator between the indiviual and civic space.
Three practices working together is a new departure for us all and unusual in architecture. Architecture is a social application, yet the irony is that architects are trained to work individually. What’s important about this project for me is that the Red Pavilion is something I couldn't design on my own. It’s a collective project arising out of an engaged conversation between friends and colleagues.
There’s so much in it – so many different ways of looking at architecture and it captures a wide cross section of the views of a community of architects. In a way it describes many of the reasons I am an architect. You can be deeply informed and sincere about the subject but that doesn’t mean you can’t act with a lightness of spirit.
The theme of London Festival of Architecture this year is ‘work in progress’ addressing the idea of the city as a constantly evolving space. According to Andrew this radically informed the Red Pavilion project.
Architecture is a built continuum of thought. Over generations. For us this is an opportunity to test a way of working in the city and to use it as a reminder of incidental public space in the ongoing evolution of London. Really, every city is a work in progress, as well as a laboratory and an archive. This project is walking that line as well. It’s a new memory in an on-going discussion of new space.
The wonderful thing about architecture is that it’s the most generous of the creative disciplines. Anybody can walk into any space and make an embodied decision about it. You can look at our little pavillion and see that it’s concerned with certain constructional logics and illogics as well as the history of architecture and the reality of spatial experience.
For Clancy Moore to be involved in New Horizon at London Festival of Architecture is a huge honour. It’s by far the most visible project we’ve been involved in and our first project off the island of Ireland. It has been a privilege to work with such talented people on a prjoect that has bee a massive amount of fun.
See the work of Clancy Moore at the Red Pavilion from the 1st to the 21st of June at Lewis Cubitt Square, King’s Cross, London, N1C 4UZ.
Words by Alex Calder.