PUP Architects disguised a dwelling as a rooftop air duct to bring attention to London’s housing crisis. The “guerrilla habitation” project playfully exploits development loopholes by fashioning a habitable rooftop space atop a canal-side warehouse in east London. PUP Architects based their design off a loophole that allows development of rooftop service structures without planning permission.
PUP Architect’s H-VAC structure beat out 128 proposals to win property developer Shiva’s annual Antepavilion program, a competition that calls attention to problems with the local planning department and the city’s housing shortage. Disguised as an HVAC exhaust, this hidden two-story dwelling starts from within the brick warehouse and pops up onto the roof in a snaking linear form clad in silver waterproof shingles made from recycled Tetra-Pak offcuts. The timber-framed structure winds its way up and culminates into a periscope-like shape with small room with two comfortable benches accommodating up to six.
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“The pavilion invites discussion about the occupation of the city’s rooftops by highlighting relaxed permitted development rights,” says the Antepavilion press release. “It suggests that if dwellings could be disguised as air conditioning equipment, thousands of micro houses could be built across the city providing new homes.” The unusual pop-up pavilion won 2017’s Architecture Foundation Antepavilion competition for sustainable housing alternatives.
Images by Jim Stephenson and Phineas Harper