Pollards Pop–Up!

OKRA Studio, London , 2021



All photographs Agnese Sanvito and Andre Baumecker     Download Original

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Pollards Pop–Up! was a three-week-long events programme during summer 2021, designed and co-ordinated by a collaborative team, led by Okra.

The programme formed part of a larger community project, initiated by two young residents, to find a new use for a disused toilet block at the main bus stop in Pollards Hill. The project is supported by Merton Council and the GLA.

The pop-up tested reactivating the building, which has been closed for almost four decades. The act of self-building at a visible site encouraged hundreds of conversations with the community, as did the results: two vibrant interventions either side of the building.

The Green Room was constructed as the primary space to host activities, in view of the local shopping parade. Painted plywood columns were built to conceal damaged existing steel columns, without fixing into them. Flexible crenelated screens, constructed from hinged, softwood elements with a mesh screen, were installed between the columns allowing for a variety of spatial configurations. These could be moved to form screens in a park across the road, for activities requiring more space and a soft surface.

An Information Point next to the bus stop, painted orange, created opportunities for feedback as the programme progressed. Working closely with graphic designers Vangelis Moschopoulos and Michael Wallace, a unique modular typeface was developed to create the painted signage and reinforce the programme’s identity.

The programme itself tested future uses and operators for the building by hosting free activities for the community, including an open-air cinema, a coffee shop, a Caribbean cafe, arts workshops, yoga and sports classes, bike repairs, health consultations, employment advice, pop-up businesses and a nature walk of Mitcham Common.

Following the Pop–Up! the structures were demounted and distributed to local organisations, with plans for material reuse including furniture and community planters.

Annual CO2 data was not provided


  • Begun: Jul 2021
  • Completed: Sep 2021
  • Sector: Retail
  • Total cost: £8,000
  • Funding: GLA (Good Growth Development funding) and Merton Council
  • Tender date: Nov 2020
  • Procurement: Self-build
  • Address: Bus Stop G, Pollards Hill, Mitcham, London , CR4 1LW, United Kingdom

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