Let's Spend the Night Together--On a "Boat" on Top of a Roof in London

Bonnie Alter/CC BY 2.0

It's nautical, since it overlooks the Thames River, it's architectural, and it's a winner.

The boat-shaped room, designed by David Kohn Architects, was the winner of the "Room for London" contest. It was an architectural competition to design and build a room on top of a theatre complex during the year of the Olympics, 2012. Ship ahoy.
Photo: aj

It's a boat shaped structure, which its architect and co-winner artist describe as "a place to reflect on the nature of transience." The one room hotel was inspired by the steamship 'Roi de Belges' sailed by Joseph Conrad up the Congo in 1871. It will be winched up and installed on the roof of the Queen Elizabeth Hall throughout 2012.


Photo: shmoop.com The Original

The lower and upper "decks" of the little room will have extraordinary views of the river and the London panorama. However there don't seem to be any portholes. It will be made out of crafted timber, and be full of nooks and crannies to explore. On arrival 'aboard', a nautical flag will be raised to signal occupation. Visitors will be encouraged to fill in a logbook on the 'bridge' of the boat, detailing what they have experienced during their stay: both out of the window and within themselves.

Two guests at a time will be able to spend a night there. In addition special visitors to the Olympics will also be offered a night. 'Thinkers-in-residence' will be invited to stay and think about the city at a moment in time, through writing, image-making, online postings or live webcasts from the Room itself.

Five hundred architectural firms submitted proposals and a boat won. The competition was organized by Living Architecture and Art Angel. Living Architecture is non-profit organization that commissions new houses by famous architects and then rents them out to holiday-makers for about $250 a night. Bookings will be open for the boat for one night only as of September 1, 2011. The economics of the winning project are unclear; as in who pays for it, since rental fees and arts council money could never cover the cost.

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