Located in in the South London district of Peckham, the project proposes a secret bourgeois casino catering to a rapid invasion of the ‘commuter classes’.
This socially complex suburban centre has witnessed 15 years of radical economic change. The troubled investment and regeneration programme has facilitated unusual urban dichotomies: the poverty and social unrest manifested in the 2011 riots, juxtaposed with a pop-up infiltration of cocktail bars, galleries and restaurants. Rye Lane’s West African street market and churches nestled in borrowed and re-appropriated post-industrial undercrofts and warehouses, contrasting heavily with the twee ‘organic’ villagescape of nearby Bellenden Rd.
An interest in this ‘re-appropriation of space’ lead to the use of in-situ 1:1 pop-up ‘guerrilla’ installations, employed as devices for distorting and re-configuring anamorphic perception of existing sites in Peckham. Continued digital mapping of dynamic site processes allowed quantifiable movement analysis and definition of various behavior-groups. The intertwining rhythms of these groups focused a brief orientated around ‘dormant’ and ‘active’ modes of operation.
In its dormant state, the project exits as a folding and undulating urban park, sandwiched by the Victorian viaducts of Peckham Rye Station, the origin of Peckham’s urban genesis. Once active, the Casino’s terranean roofscape, unfolds on automated armatures, responding in sequence to the identified movement patterns of specific behavior-groups. This unfolding of reflective and translucent surfaces generates strange perspectival alterations of the surrounding skyline, revealing the casino’s presence to those in privileged physical locations: Architecture as Sign, through covert cultural coding.
Perspectival manipulation continues within the structure; Escheresque rotations of familiar volume-types attempt to feed the perception of disorientation. The controlled manipulation of natural and artificial light serves to augment circadian rhythms, detaching the users from any external sensory engagement. The LED colour-washed walls - employed to control melatonin levels - de-materialise the formal language, creating a kind-of projected spatial camouflage. Dynamic and static spaces are treated as compressive and expansive respectively, with multi-layered internal cladding of varying porosity, further adding to the spatial ambiguity.