House of Flags

Winner of Commission for Olympic Installation

Location: Parliament Square London
Construction Cost: £120,000
Client: Greater London Authority

206 panels, representing the flags of each participating nation in the 2012 Summer Olympics and Paralympics, are assembled in a temporary installation on Parliament Square. The project was commissioned by the Greater London Authority as part of the Mayor of London’s ‘Incredible Installations’ for the Olympics. The architectural installation references Eames’ famous ‘house of cards’. Together the flag panels create a large interlocking timber jigsaw: a united House of Flags, sited opposite the House of Commons. A matrix of symbols, shimmering colours, shadows and perforations invites everyone to experience an image of the world as well as an image of multi-ethnic London.

House of Flags is a free standing structure made of FSC certified finnish birch plywood supported on pre-cast concrete foundational blocks laid into the square. The cutting out of the various symbols and stripes of panels is CNC fabricated. On the external elevation of each panel each flag graphic is printed directly onto the plywood while the internal elevation of the panels is left with the natural timber finish. Here the panels create an abstracted, monochromatic and unified space. At night the structure is lit from within to glow as an inhabited ‘house’, highlighting the silhouetted cut-outs.

The composition for this installation is determined by alphabetical order. AY Architects worked with The Flag Institute, the world’s leading research and documentation centre for flag information, to determine how the flag designs and connections could correspond to many of their strict protocols. The structure can be demounted and reinstalled elsewhere, adapting to new configurations.

For a full description of the project in the Bartlett Design Research Folios series, please read here.

A time lapse video of the erection process can be found on vimeo.

 

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To watch a stop frame animation of the construction process press play below: