Folly for a Flyover

Key Facts:

Project summary: A 6 week timber stage set with outdoor seating and cafe built beneath a road bridge over the Lea Navigation.

Location: Hackney, London, UK

Programme: Café, Film Screenings, Boating on the Lea Navigation, Daytime workshops

Initiator: Cultural Olympiad / CREATE festival

Project Duration: 6 weeks (Opened 24th June 2011)

Lead in Time: 7 months (2 on site construction prior to opening)

Site Area: 200m2 project build site + canal for boating

Client Team: The Architecture Foundation, Barbican

Project Team: Led by approximately 5 people from design and architecture collective, Assemble CIC who oversaw design and operation. Construction labour by around 200 volunteers

Funding Sources: CREATE 2011 £40k

Funding Type: Grant

Project Costs (Build): unknown

Project Costs (Operation): unknown

Profitability/Loss: Approx £500 profit

Permissions / Permits: Permission to use site from LB Hackney, Temporary Event Licence, short term commercial waterways licence (for boat hire)

Local Links: Café food supplied by local companies including Mr Bagels, Essex Flour & Grain and Formans smoked salmon.

Publicity/advertising: Website, local advertising, CREATE festival

Project Evaluation:

Site Details & Ownership:
Canal side under-croft of A12 road bridge over River Lea Navigation, land owned by LB Hackney. Site accessible by vehicles from Eastway for deliveries and pedestrian access primarily via canal towpath, owned separately by British Waterways.

Project Reach / Visitors / Target Audience:
Aimed at engaging the local community through cinema and food the project attracted approximately 20,000 total visitors, with over 3,500 tickets sold to film screenings and the remainder visiting workshops or simply stopping in the cafe.

Problems Encountered / Overcome:
Provision of power and water to a previously undeveloped site. The requirements of power were a major problem of the build. The legacy of the project is that the site has now had the utilities provision made permanent to enable future temporary projects to take place on the site.

Boat licensing required from British Waterways, worked with BW directly to arrange required permits and licences.

Feedback from users / staff:
“The feeling of watching TRON in that setting with the music echoing around you as cars drove overhead was strange, made even stranger still when people arrived to watch the film on canoes and a home made motorised catamaran.
If you get a chance to go to a Folly For a Flyover event this summer do it and don’t miss out, you would be in for a magical evening”

What next?
The project materials have subsequently been used in a number of other temporary projects by Assemble in the Olympic Fringe, these have included:

  • wooden bricks forming planters at Gainsborough School;
  • wooden bricks, cinema seats and equipment at Sugarhouse Studios; and,
  • the terrazzo has been donated to the Essex Flour & Grain Co (who supplied food) to be used to improve their waterside space for staff.

The site of the Folly itself has subsequently been provided with permanent utilities connections and a terrazzo slab to enable the site to be readily reused for events in future. Assemble has since been commissioned by LLDC to operate Sugarhouse Studios, which provides a similar programme of films and community workshops on a larger scale over a longer period of time.

Complementary Programmes: Café, Library

Project Website / Further Info: