10 February 2017
Architectural Association, London.
We are confronted with a faulty listing mechanism, one that is manipulated by the increasingly wide acceptance of the vestiges of historic buildings as the absolute marketing material and icons for the next regeneration-cum-shopping mall annex.
The achievement of this status by one structure, singled out through tested checklists and appraisals, dooms the surrounding structures to the oblivion of demolition to make space for the next New London Classic (sic) Living.
Seeking a viable alternative to a further incumbent listing appraisal, the formation of a Building Preservation Trust is here seen as a revolutionary venture that, unsatisfied with the answer to a pressing question, proposes a 30 year suspension of time creating a lag, during which a new response can be sought.
The Building Preservation Trust works on a very simple set of principles, including:
– To acquire, through a 390 years lease, the use and management of the former Phoenix Gasworks Gas Holders No.4 and No.5; sited in Oval and currently unused
– To relocate the Gas Holders every 30 years in an effort to flee mechanisms of listing currently in place
– To seek as criteria for the relocation the identification of buildings, artifacts, or notable found objects presenting a condition akin to the original gas holder condition
– To champion the creation of a Gas Holder Community.
The subscribing members are allocated an allotment within the perimeter of the Gas Holder, theirs to colonize over a thirty-year period. The Trust encourages its members to explore the possibilities of living in the particular condition of the Gas Holder Community and to benefit and exploit the possibility of building with materials which would otherwise be deemed not apt or structurally sound. Once the Gas Holder moves, the community will (literally) dissolve; or will it?
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