Space Gap

Unknown Works, London, 2019


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Tom Underwood / Unknown Works / Hildrey Studio     Download Original

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Space Gap is a pavilion and event programme for London Design Festival 2018 that explored the disparity of space allocation in London and the complex issues that have created the housing crisis we face today.

Set in front of Kensington Olympia, the pavilion was an open forum, set within a three-dimensional spatial diagram. It lays bare the appalling contrast in size, quality, and density of occupation between the largest of homes and the smallest of spaces that people are forced to endure. Each element of the pavilion describes a piece of the socio-economic picture and confronts the audience with the unequal distribution of space present in London and laid bare before them.

Constructed from timber, scaffold mesh and intricately crafted pigmented concrete seats, the spaces of the pavilion described true stories of inhabitation found in London arranged together according to density. These include cases of overcrowded homes, illegal studios, social housing, Housing for Multiple Occupation (HMOs) and empty homes, set alongside the national space standards. Design and social issues, ranging from homelessness to ghost mansions, were addressed through talks, debates, film screenings and in the immersive design of the pavilion itself.

The panel discussions proved fascinating – bringing together speakers from different fields. These included Alastair Parvin, (Open Systems Lab), Tom Copley (GLA), Patrik Schumacher, Cllr. Aarien-Uday Areti (Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea), Christine Murray, Cat Drew (UsCreates), Louise Wyman (Homes England), John Bibby (Shelter), Heinz Richardson (Jestico & Whiles) and Ed Thomas (The Collective). The project was self initiated and fabricated by Unknown Works at the Blackhorse Lane Workshop. The events programme and funding were realised in collaboration with Hildrey Studio. The project was funded through a successful crowdfunding campaign, the generous support of Origin Housing and Arts Council England through a Lottery Arts Council Grant.


  • Begun: Sep 2018
  • Completed: Jan 2019
  • Floor area: 104m2
  • Sector: Arts and culture
  • Total cost: £10,000
  • Funding: Crowdfunding / Arts Council England
  • Tender date: Aug 2018
  • Procurement: Self Build
  • Address: Kensington Olympia, Hammersmith, London, W14 0NE, United Kingdom