Alastair Hall; Ian McKnight
Metaphor, simile and story-telling are at the heart of Hall McKnight’s work. Their competition-winning Vartov Square, a sequence of new public spaces adjacent to the City Hall in the centre of Copenhagen, includes a new woodland of 120 cherry trees and a new public space. This square is overlooked by the oldest of the neighbouring buildings. A character in a little-known Hans Christian Andersen story looks out over the space from a window in one of these buildings. The pattern of the new square’s surface is generated by the windows of this same building.
Their housing in Greenwich, London is based on an idea of the spatial study of compositions of three forms, just as in still life paintings. They interpreted their own observations of the human interaction on the campus of Gallaudet University at a different scale, using a piece of furniture carrying a collection of vessels, each of which was made by a carpenter, a ceramicist and a metalworker. This ensemble asserts the values of making and experience above image and effect.
For the 16th International Architecture Exhibition, their work is presented as an ensemble, cross-referencing a number of their projects including re-imagining new civic spaces from a variety of different perspectives.