Thames 21 is an environmental charity involved in education and volunteering activities to care for rivers and waterways across Greater London. They approached Studio Buschow to develop a permanent base near Gallions Reach where they could better serve local community groups.
Our proposal began not with the building but from the site itself. We sought to use every facet of the landscape and building as educational tools for volunteers and visiting groups meaning inside, outside, and the roof are all part of the composition. As a community and public building its image should be both striking and memorable – and very much of its place. Cor-ten, the self-finished steel found up and down the edges of the Thames, seemed ideal. As well as being very robust in this environment, this material would ensure the building would stand out from its context whilst still being very much part of it.
A simple plan centred around a flexible entrance hall where exhibitions, lectures and workshops can take place connects to every other space as well as the landscape beyond. A rooftop viewing platform can be accessed to provide a place to share, work, learn, study and practice. The form of the building provides protection from the prevailing winds where river-side sustainability and cleaning techniques can be trialled.