Olympic Carpark

A system of iridescent metal fins construct a pixelated image of terraced houses, recalling the lost history of the local area, concealing a huge car park behind.

Floating above the motorway, canal towpath and street, a ghosted photomontage – wrapping continuously around the structure’s three aspects – illustrates the precious and ephemeral nature of the traditional residential block at 1:1 scale, bearing testimony to the area’s rich communities and history of worker’s housing to support industry (for example from 1878 the Gas, Light and Coke Company laid out a small factory town with streets lined with terraced houses, factories and a school on Fish Island, now demolished).

The new facade challenges the Car Park’s monumental scale with that of the domestic, highlighting the vibrant diversity of the area, with large scale infrastructure surrounded by pockets of community. The volume of the car-park provocatively becomes a space for dwelling, in contrast to its actual utilitarian function. Instead of a billboard selling products, this chromatic façade playfully celebrates “the everyday. The facade consists of regularly spaced vertical fins, which are constructed out of modular panels of which there are five types (flat to V-shaped) with different depths, all powder coated in special crystal paint. These become pixels with which to construct the terraced housing image.

The pixelated quality lends the façade a sense of memory, like an old photograph, while the stunning colour effects point to the future. The façade is 50% open, ensuring proper ventilation and natural light and views to the interior of the car-park. The facade radically transforms as the angle of view or illumination changes, causing the image to come in and out of focus like a film’s fade technique, achieved without any moving parts. This effect is created in two ways: firstly, the housing image appears and disappears according to the light and shadow on the panels and as the depth of the panels is revealed; secondly the colour of each panel switches between pink and blue, an effect generated by the iridescent paint. In this way, using simple static parts, GHOST achieves an optical complexity that is never the same each time you look at it- everyone’s experience is unique.