Sophie Nguyen Architects’ project for the London Festival of Architecture explores a neglected stretch of the Grand Union Canal towpath, east of Great Western Road. The intention is to develop a concept to regenerate this area, starting from the historical context, through collection of individual memories, to new aspirations for the area, and displaying the results of the research and consultation during the London Festival of Architecture. The longer-term intention would be to build the resulting project.
‘It is important to go from memory to the built domain and not from the built domain to memory’ Françoise Choay, 1996.
The towpath is North facing and overshadowed by the Westway, flanked by a 2m high brick wall topped with razor wire, it is a hostile and unloved environment in an otherwise beautiful length of canalside landscape.
Over the Easter weekend local residents and the canal boat community were invited to share their memories of the region and to give their ideas of how they would like to enhance the space. This resulted in the community engaging with the project and everyone involved, ranging from boat users to graffiti artists were photographed showing their ideas for the area. These photographs will be on display in the exhibition.
The exhibition will take place in the Great Western Studios, which sits alongside the Grand Union Canal towpath. The event is also designed to engage with the residents, with all new thoughts, memories and aspirations being shared.