The Architects’ Journal and Turkishceramics have partnered to create the ‘Kiosk design challenge’, asking some of the world’s top architects to create a water-dispensing kiosk for London that incorporates ceramic details and reflects the artistry and craft typical of the building type’s rich heritage.
Participating architects include 2012 London Olympic Games Architects Zaha Hadid Architects and Hopkins; Google HQ architect AHMM; Eric Parry Architects; Classicist architects ADAM Architecture; and up-and-coming practice, Studio Weave.
The definition of the kiosk, originating in Turkey as a garden pavilion, has transformed over time. A change took place in the late 17th century when charitable fountain kiosks in Turkey, paid for by the Sultan or other members of the royal family were created to distribute water to citizens. These were freestanding buildings, beautifully fashioned in marble and often with exquisite tilework.
Following this development, kiosks began to become popular in western European cities and were adapted to dispense more than just water. By the 19th century, kiosks became known as a building type used to sell tickets, newspapers, cigarettes, etc.
To appropriately inform the architects’ designs, representatives from each of the six practices visited Istanbul to research these structures, ceramic materials and building techniques.
The Kiosk exhibition will showcase new public realm design by some of the best architects in London. Sites the architects have been asked to consider for the fountains are Exhibition Road, Soho and the South Bank. The project is focused on what public spaces of a world city like London should be.
The exhibition will demonstrate how ceramics can be used to design beautiful contemporary kiosks. Visitors will have the chance to view visualisations, drawings and models of the designs. The exhibition is also intended to stimulate debate about the meaning of public space, ideas around congregation and a return to a more civic realm where items, such as drinking fountains and other architectural civic gestures, change how we use and view our townscapes.