New Public Space On The Roof Of A Car Park

A new viewing platform was recently opened on the rooftop of a multi-story parking garage in Peckham, South London. The project is the latest in a series of interventions that have transformed the carpark into a popular public space, as well as changing the surrounding neighborhood.

The Peckham Observatory viewing platform is the latest architectural commission by Bold Tendencies, the resident cultural programmer of the top floors of a now defunct car park. Young and local architecture studio Cooke Fawcett was appointed by Bold Tendencies to add another unique space to the roof. The elegant and minimalist platform covers the entire 32m width of the roof. Staircases on both sides give access to the 3.5m-high platform, providing breathtaking views over the London skyline. The structure is also intended as a viewing spot for the artworks and activities taking place on the rooftop itself, all part of the Bold Tendencies portfolio.

Nestled underneath the olive-green colored steelwork platform, the project includes a dark-blue timber box. This kiosk will provide the organization with much-needed space for staff, while also serving as an information hub, ticket booth and shop. The color palette is a nice contrast to the bubblegum pink staircase people use to reach the roof. Staying true to its grassroots character, the project was realized on a very thin budget. Bold Tendencies managed the project themselves and worked solely with local suppliers and contractors, making it a genuinely local venture.

Over the last few years, the traditional multi-story car park building has become quite the paradox, mostly defunct in most city centers yet arguably the most fashionable structure for urban redevelopment. The story of Peckham’s car park started about ten years ago, when Bold Tendencies started using the space for site-specific cultural events and interventions. In that time the unlikely building has been transformed into one of London’s most popular and exciting public spaces. The Peckham’s car park is now home to an art terrace on the roof that features large-scale art installations, a roofgarden and hipster bar Frank’s Café. Moving down you will find the remarkable epic venue for the Multi-Story Orchestra, which preforms in the concrete spaces on lower levels of the car park.

The carpark has transformed the Peckham arts scene at a time when the whole area has seen tremendous change. It has become part of London’s wave of upscaling formerly distressed neighborhoods. Peckham, as well as the multi-story carpark, offer something that is increasingly hard to find in London: empty, flexible space. The building is stripped to the bone, offering an enormous amount of flexibility and the perfect framework for temporary urban development and pop-up interventions.

The future of the formerly unused, dead space is up for debate. Bold Tendencies can make use of their space for a few more years, but the local council recently rejected their plan to turn the rest of the floors into subsidized artist studios and gave the green light for a more commercial project. For the following years of its tenure on the site, it is the intention of Bold Tendencies to allow locals and visitors to fully experience and appreciate the public space here in Peckham.