Antepavilion Commission 2018: Open Call

Shiva Ltd and the Architecture Foundation are pleased to launch an open competition to find a designer for the 2018 Antepavilion

The annual Antepavilion commission is an initiative to develop, construct and display experimental structures offering emerging artists, architects and makers an opportunity to create new work within a complex urban environment. The inaugural Antepavilion competition was won by PUP Architects whose micro-dwelling H-VAC was completed in August 2017 and has been published widely in the architectural press. The competition for the 2018 Antepavilion is now open for entries.

Selected Antepavilion 2017 coverage: DesignBoom, Dezeen, Architects' JournalDetail


Architects, artists and designers are invited to propose a floating structure to be sited on the Regent’s canal at Hoxton Docks in Hackney. The platform for entries is the 62 foot motor barge, ‘Ouse’, built in 1934 for canal operators, Canal Transport Ltd for maintenance on the Leeds-Liverpool canal. Ouse is now moored alongside Hoxton Docks as a base for the new structure.

The conceptual programme for the floating Antepavilion is not prescribed. Entries may be purely sculptural, structural, political or propose a real or notional function such as social, habitable or performance space. Proposals for public events to take place in the Antepavilion will need to be resourced from the overall budget or self-supporting.

The judges will be mindful of sustainability concerns and credit will be given to entries that, for example, make good use of recycled or renewable materials.

The Antepavilion commission is intended to facilitate hands-on engagement with craft and construction. It is therefore part of the brief that the winning design team will be engaged directly with the construction process in a hands-on manner. A credible realisation plan will be an essential feature of the winning proposal. Shortlisted entires will have the opportunity to develop their realisation and construction strategy with engineers from AKTII. 

Background Information


The budget for the project is £25,000 which is split into a £10,000 prize fund and £15,000 worth of materials and labour. Teams are welcome to propose putting a portion of the prize fund towards the construction budget. The winning team will be invited to work with the workshops, machinery and craftsmen on site at Hoxton Docks leading to the completion and installation of the finished structure by July 2018. 

The Barge ‘Ouse’

Ouse is one of two boats built for Canal Transport Ltd by Harkers of Knottingley in 1934. She is 61 feet long, 14 feet 6 inches wide and 4 feet 8 inches deep and fitted with her own diesel engine and rudder. The barge is permanently moored at Hoxton Docks on the blind (south) side of the canal and is not ordinarily accessible to the public. However, she is capable of making journeys on the Regent’s canal providing any structure built on top of is low enough to fit under the canal bridges. With a taller, fixed structure the barge would still be able to move but only between the moorings along the towpath on the north side of the canal between Queen’s Bridge and Kingsland Rd and the private mooring at Hoxton docks on the south side.

Some further background and peripheral references on Ouse and the Regent’s canal can be viewed here.



Hoxton Docks

Hoxton Docks is a complex of artists’ studios, workshops and events spaces. It occasionally hosts large events. The site is not open to the public except for occasional special events such as Open House.

Process and selection

Entries to the Antepavilion competition should be submitted digitally via the online entry form.

Each entry should comprise a proposal title, team or practice name and two A3 boards describing the proposed structure formatted as a single PDF document. The PDF should be named in the following format [name of proposal]_[name of practice/artist].pdf The boards themselves must be anonymous. Please do not include the names or contact details of your practice in the PDF, only as the file name and in the entry form. Entries will be considered by a cross-disciplinary jury including artists and architects to be announced shortly.

Entry requirements

Entry is open to designers, artists and makers. No formal qualifications or professional registrations are necessary for entrants to the Antepavilion competition. This commission is especially suitable for practitioners at the start of their careers who are interested in hands-on involvement in the realisation of their work. The commission is open for entries from both groups and individuals. Teams including international members are welcome enter the competition however central to the comission is the principle that the winning team will have a hands-on engagement with building their design in London.

Open days

Potential entrants are invited to view the site and barge at one of three open days:

  • Saturday 16 December 13:30 – 15:30
  • Tuesday 9 January 12:00 – 15:00
  • Sunday 4 February 10:00 – 13:00

Visitors should head to Brunswick/Columbia Wharf, 53 Laburnum Street, E2 8BD where there will be further directions. The site of the barge and canal setting can also be seen from the public footpath which runs along the north side of the canal. There is no need to book a place at an open day but you should make sure you have registered interest in the comission before attending.


The deadline for entries is midnight on Wednesday 28 February. Three to five of the entries will be selected by the panel for further development. A small bursary of £3,000 will be divided equally between the shortlisted applicants to fund the development of their final presentation. AKTII Engineering will also provide support to develop the structural and construction strategy of the shortlisted proposals in the form of one-to-one meetings with each shortlisted team.

Exhibition of shortlist

The shortlisted entries will be exhibited at Hoxton Docks at the Antepavilion opening party.

Questions from entrants

Questions from entrants may be emails to Answers will be posted openly on the Antepavilion and Architecture Foundation websites as soon as possible.

2017 Brief

The brief from last year's Antepavilion comission can be viewed here. A noteable difference in the briefs is that the 2017 commission was specifically intended as a rooftop structure whereas the 2018 commission is intended as a floating structure.

Further information

More photographs, information and historic documents can be found at the Antepavilion comission homepage.