When Assemble won the UK’s biggest contemporary art award, the 2015 Turner Prize, it was the first time an architectural practice had done so. The judges selected them as much for the participatory, collaborative nature of their projects - Granby Four Streets in Liverpool (the rehabilitation, together with the local Community Land Trust, of semi-derelict Victorian houses that had been intended for demolition) and the Baltic Street Adventure Playground in Glasgow - as for the artistry and inspired husbandry of resources that characterise these projects.
Assemble cohered as a collective of assorted architecture and arts students with their first project, 2010’s Cineroleum, a temporary cinema that they improvised from an abandoned petrol station and either found or donated materials. The practice (now numbering 19 participants) developed through subsequent public art projects that often incorporated infrastructure and temporary buildings, from New Addington’s Central Parade in Croydon in 2011 to 2012’s Folly for a Flyover (a community arts and cinema space under a motorway bridge in east London). With two projects in east London, Blackhorse Workshop in Walthamstow and Sugarhouse Studios in Stratford, they are shaping spaces that support makers, crafts and creative communities, with minimal resources. A variety of theatres, exhibitions, play structures and performance spaces have followed, underpinned by a commitment to craftsmanship, stakeholder engagement and social and material sustainability.
Founding member Anthony Engi Meacock talks to Studio International about the evolution of Assemble’s work and ethos, and the benefits of combining the artist’s qualities of curiosity and openness with an architectural sensibility for place-making.
Interview by VERONICA SIMPSON
Filmed by MARTIN KENNEDY
Click on the pictures below to enlarge
Patrick Caulfield and Gary Hume
Two masters of British art, two mini retrospective exhibitions, but held together in Tate Britain’s Linbury Galleries, so that the visitor might compare the bold use of colour and shape by some of our native talent from across two generations.
A Singular Artist Brings a Singular Work to South America
Born in Bombay (Mumbai), India, in 1954, sculptor Anish Kapoor has lived in London since his youth. Kapoor represented Great Britain at the 1990 Venice Biennale, was awarded the 1991 Turner Prize, and now is regarded as one of the most forward-looking artists in Britain.
Elizabeth Price – 2012 Turner Prize winner
Had I been asked to place a bet upon who I thought would win the Turner Prize 2012, my money would not have been on the film artist Elizabeth Price (born 1966), for her 20-minute-long hand-clapping, finger-clicking, sing-a-long lesson in architectural history and a 70’s news tragedy, The Woolworths Choir of 1979 (2012).