We’re big fans of Studio Weave – their narrative-led design approach to architecture has resulted in some wonderful gems including furniture, follies, buildings and landscape interventions all richly embellished with stories. Their latest offering is this wonderful Paleys upon Pilers (palace on pillars) on the site of London’s historic Aldgate (literally a gate with rooms above in which Chaucer resided in the 14th Century – now that’s a good fact).
The elegant timber structure is part gateway – reinstating the old Roman gate – and part elevated room. It appears to almost float above the street, resplendent and eye-catching due to its traditional vernacular form and highly decorative facades. In Studio Weave’s words the design evokes “images of fantastic dream-like temples of impossible materials and scale, elevated on precarious, precious structures above vast, bizarre landscapes conceivable as analogies for the City.”
I like the way it playfully announces itself to the surrounding architecture (both old and new) making a rather striking composition set against The Gherkin for example. It perfectly straddles the world of Chaucer and now; the timber references the historic architecture of the area but presented with a contemporary aesthetic twist.
Paleys upon Pilers officially opens tomorrow in time for the Olympics and it marks the start of High Street 2012, the direct route from the City of London to the games site at Stratford. It was commissioned by the Worshipful Company of Chartered Architects for the Olympics – and London’s all the better for it!