AHMM at the Venice Biennale

AHMM exhibited at the 2014 Biennale Architettura in Venice. AHMM's contribution,  'Merzbau, Palimpsest, Collage: A Long History of Architecture', was part of 'Time Space Existence' at Palazzo Bembo.


About the Exhibition

This exhibition looked at twelve architectures.

Each was photographed by Timothy Soar as it currently exists, but the accompanying notes, documents and artefacts reflect on each of the twelve architecture’s many histories of design and designers; of construction and constructors; of structures and infrastructures; of inhabitants and passers-by; of freeholds and leases. All are histories of the financial, social, political and legal inventions that have always commoditised these architectures.

Each of the twelve architectures reflects the impact of its predecessors and through history, ever increasingly retains fragments of the same: each project is the architecture of many hands and therefore exists somewhere between Merzbau, Palimpsest and Collage. Each project offers a long history of architecture.

Read director Simon Allford's accompanying essay


References and source materials are listed below. 


Tea Building

Photograph by Timothy Soar, 2014

A substantial city block comprising many buildings including a bacon storage warehouse built for the Lipton family, part of a new, robust scale of development on the City fringes in the early 20C.

Almost demolished in 2001, the prevailing economic conditions trigger a fundamental rethink of the way in which such complex buildings can be inhabited, harnessing their inherent flexibility.

The TEA phenomenon takes off, with continuous reworking over the subsequent 15 years, responding to the emerging TMT market as well as providing a creative mix of start-ups, design agencies and restaurants, topped by a private members’ club.

Tea Building, London, by Allford Hall Monaghan Morris for Derwent London. Completed 2004 (Green Tea 2010).

Photograph - Lipton’s Bacon Warehouse under construction. View from junction with Bethnal Green Road - 1933

Source: London Borough of Hackney Archives

The Tea Building was originally built as a Bacon Warehouse (and later used to store tea) for Lipton in the 1930s.

Magazine - Architect’s Journal/ Ten Years of Tea by Rory Olcayto - 19 July 2012

Source: AHMM Archive (Original source: EMAP) A building study charting the evolution of Tea Building written by AJ editor Rory Olcayto. It includes photographs taken of the interior of Tea and a timeline charting the buildings history from 1890-2012.

Lipton Tea adverts

Source: Unilever Archives

Sir Thomas Lipton, the founder of Lipton, was known for his provocative and innovative style of advertisement and publicity. These are a few examples of print advertisements for Lipton Tea from the early 20th Century


Barbican Arts Centre

Photograph by Timothy Soar, 2014


An entire city quarter is destroyed during World War Two, presenting a unique opportunity to rethink how we might live, as well as work, in the City.

The resolution of fragmented city grids and levels within a single infrastructural composition is predicated on a city-wide masterplan to separate people and cars, the ‘Pedway’, later abandoned.

This is a lifetime’s work for Chamberlin Powell and Bon; 20 years to design and 10 more to construct. Thirty years on, this isolated bastion is reconnected to its historic context.

Barbican Arts Centre, London, by Allford Hall Monaghan Morris for the City of London Corporation. Completed 2006. Photo: Timothy Soar

Print - Old Houses, Cripplegate - 1901

Source: London Metropolitan Archive, City of London

This sketch by Robert Randoll shows the Barbican area (Fore Street) before it was destroyed by German bombardment in WWII.

Map - Bomb Damage Map - 1939-45

Source: London Metropolitan Archive, City of London

This map is part of a larger collection of plans that showed the areas of the city devastated by V1 and V2 bombs in WWII. The area where the Barbican development is situated was completely destroyed by heavy bombing in 1942.

Colour illustration - View along route 11 from a pedestrian walkway 18'0" above road level

Source: The Architectural Review/ South Barbican: The City of London’s first essay in pedestrian segregation by Kenneth Browne - May 1960 EMAP Archive (AR) Colour illustration by Kenneth Browne.

The illustration shows the view looking along route 11 from a pedestrian walkway 18’0” above road level.

Book - Barbican David Heathcoat - Barbican: Penthouse Over The City by David Heathcote - 2004

Wiley Academy (John Wiley and Sons Ltd)

Illustrations of South Barbican by Kenneth Browne as featured in The Architectural Review (May 1960).

Magazine – Building Design - Supplement magazine October 2006

The Barbican Odyssey ‘Lost and Found’ by Kieran Long

The front cover of BD Magazine’s ‘Public Buildings’ publication.


Photograph by Timothy Soar, 2014

A tale of one building’s enduring presence within a radically changing context.

Designed by Thomas Cartwright in 1703 as the parish church, it abuts the much larger St Thomas’ Hospital which, in an act of expediency, sites a women’s operating theatre within the church’s attic, a relic which outlives the hospital’s later relocation and survives to this day.

Southwark Cathedral’s Chapter House from 1898 it becomes, a century later and appropriately enough, a bespoke headquarters for developer Cathedral and, latterly, perhaps a restaurant.

Cathedral Headquarters, London, by Allford Hall Monaghan Morris for Cathedral Group Completed 2008.

Etching: St Thomas Hospital - 1758

Source: Storeys Ltd. 

The chapel (the tower towards the right of the image) was part of the larger St Thomas Hospital complex until 1862 when the hospital moved to its present location in Lambeth.

Photo: Operating theatre - AHMM

Etching: Chapter House, St Thomas Street - 1825

Source: Southwark Local History Library,

The chapel was also known as the Chapter House of the larger Southwark Cathedral located across the road on Borough High Street.

Illustration: Interior of Chapter House, from Daily Chronicle by Hedlay Fitton - 1901

Source: Southwark Local History Library

The chapel was also known as the Chapter House of the larger Southwark Cathedral located across the road on Borough High Street.

Angel Building

Photograph by Timothy Soar, 2014

A tale of roads, crossroads and courtyards through time.

The Angel Inn opposite has been a fixture and public gathering place since the late 1500s, and with the New Road, carved through in the mid 18C, a busy crossroads is formed.

On the south-west corner, 1970s rebuilding is constrained by road widening ambitions, later abandoned. The latest reinvention reclaims the street line by extending out the existing concrete frame to create an inflected facade and an internal public room.

Angel Building, London, by Allford Hall Monaghan Morris for Derwent London. Completed 2010.


Angel Building model

Postcard - St John Street and The Angel Islington

Source: Islington Local History Centre

Once the New Road (Pentonville Road) had bisected the inn, the northern half of the plot eventually became a hotel while the southern (stable) half was turned into terraced housing.

Magazine - Architect’s Journal/ The Angel Building: AHMM’s clever transformation of a 1980s office block by Felix Mara - 10 February 2011

Source: EMAP archive

Etching - The Olde Angel Inn, by Hogarth 1747

Source: Storeys Ltd. 

Life at the Inn was crowded, messy and loud at the best of times. The inn forms the backdrop for a satirical sketch of life in London by Hogarth.

Courtyard etching - Old Angel Inn courtyard

Source: Islington Local History Centre

The Angel Inn stood at a vital entry point into the city and was frequented by cattle farmers from across the country who came to ply their trade at the market in Smithfield. The site where the Angel Building now sits was most likely the stable yard of the inn.


Photograph by Timothy Soar, 2014

An imposing chapel built to impress to a classical Corinthian pattern by Methodist evangelists in 1871. Later consolidation of their needs sees the barn reused as a drama school in the latter part of the 20C, noted for advancing the Method Acting approach to teaching the craft, created by Constantin Stanislavski.

Most recent interventions adopt an ‘as found’ approach to the conservation and adaptation of this now-listed structure for use as an experimental art space for the Zabludowicz Collection – allowing an interpretation of the building itself as a found art piece.

176 Gallery, London, by Allford Hall Monaghan Morris for Zabludowicz Art Trust. Completed 2007.

Photo - Methodist church, Prince of Wales Road - 1950s

Source: Camden Local Studies and Archives Centre

The Gallery 176 building was originally constructed as a Methodist church in the later 19th Century. It was in use as a church up until the 1960s when it was converted into a drama school.

Poster - Drama Centre Presents poster - ‘An Italian Straw Hat’ and ‘Vieux Carre’ - 1980s

Source: Camden Local Studies and Archives Centre

The Drama Centre operated out of this site until 2004.

Magazine article – The Evening Standard magazine - ‘The Exhibitionist’ by Sophie Hastings, 6 July 2011

An interview with Anita Zabludowicz, owner of 176 Gallery.

Article - The Methodist Recorder ‘A Great London Church’ 28 May 1908

Source: Camden Local Studies and Archives Centre 

This Methodist chapel was at one point in time the head church of the North London circuit.

Magazine - Time Out Magazine - ‘Collectors’ additions’ by Helen September 19-25 September 2007

Article detailing the transformation of 176 from a Methodist Chapel into an art gallery

Scotland Yard

Photograph by Timothy Soar, 2014

The latest chapter in a history shared by the Metropolitan Police and its metonym, Scotland Yard, originally an address but now an internationally recognised brand.

William Curtis Green’s 1930 extension to the two existing Norman Shaw buildings on the made ground of the Victoria Embankment is left behind when the Met moves to Victoria in 1960.

Shortly to become the latest incarnation of Scotland Yard – a highly visible and symbolic presence on the River Thames in the heart of Westminster.

Scotland Yard, London, by Allford Hall Monaghan Morris for the Metropolitan Police Service. In progress.

Engraving/news cutting, ILN 1861 - Proposed Thames Embankment

Source: Grosvenor Prints

The Thames Embankment, built to reclaim the marshy land abutting the river was built in the latter half of the 19th Century. The building of the Embankment created space for buildings such as the New Scotland Yard to be constructed along the river.

Architectural Drawing - Proposed New Government Offices in Whitehall - 1926

Source: RIBA Library Drawings & Archives Collection

An elevation drawing of the New Scotland Yard extension at Whitehall by William Curtis Green.

Metropolitan Police Press Release, 22nd January 1985

Source: Met Heritage Centre

In 1985, the Cannon Row police station shifted from its earlier location in the New Scotland Yard Building built by Norman Shaw to the Curtis Green Building. This press release explains the historical significance of the earlier HQ and the reasons for the shift.

Regent Street

Photograph by Timothy Soar, 2014

Nash’s Grand Design of 1812, ‘The New Street’, consolidates and reconfigures a pre-history of piecemeal aristocratic speculative development into a commercial proposition.

Overbuilding to greater density by Blomfield in the early 1900s to capitalise on the established commercial success involves some aggregation of the main facades and ownerships whilst maintaining the identity of smaller plots on the side roads.

Renewal by The Crown Estate in the 2000s concentrates on comprehensive remaking behind and above now-listed facades.

Regent Street Block W4, London, by Allford Hall Monaghan Morris for The Crown Estate and Exemplar.


Photo - 169 Regent Street, Cor. New Burlington Street 28th June, 1898

Source: The National Archives

This photo, taken by SB Bolas and Company of 77 Oxford Street, shows buildings from the original ‘Nash’ scheme for Regent Street. The ‘American Show Company’ showroom occupied 169 Regent Street at the time this photo was taken.

Newspaper Advert – Men Wanted

10 New Burlington invite

Book - Regent Street a Mile of Style by Hermione Hobhouse - 2008

Phillimore publications image showing the plan of the new Regent Street.


Saatchi Gallery

Photograph by Timothy Soar, 2014

A dignified civic building in the classical idiom (built in 1801 by John Sanders – a pupil of Sir John Soane) is able to accommodate changing uses over time whilst continuing, imperturbably, to command the square before it.

Originally the Royal Military Asylum, a school for soldiers’ orphans, it later becomes the HQ for the Territorial Army. Leased to the collector Charles Saatchi by the Cadogan Estate, it is now a gallery for his personal collection and opened to the public for the first time in 2008.

Saatchi Gallery, London, by Allford Hall Monaghan Morris for the Saatchi Gallery. Completed 2008.

Postcard: Duke of York School, Chelsea

Source: Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Family and Children's Services

Magazine - Architecture Today magazine Oct 2008 Architecture Today/ Building by David Littlefield

An article praising AHMM’s transformation of a former military asylum into the new Saatchi Gallery.

Photo: Royal military asylum photo for children and soldiers of the regular army
Source: Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Family and Children Services 

The building that houses the Saatchi Gallery was originally built as an orphanage and school for children of soldiers who had died at war.


Photo: Cricket lessons - 1957
Source: Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Family and Children Services 

The building served as the HQ of the Territorial Army before being bought by Cadogan Estates at the turn of the millennium.

Article: London Evening Standard/ Please may I have one of these? By Brian Sewell - 4 June 2009

Source: London Evening Standard - An art critique of the new Saatchi gallery.  

Horseferry House

Photograph by Timothy Soar, 2014

Statutory 60-foot widths between facing buildings across new roads formed in the early 20C set the plot boundaries for a robust commercial rebuilding in the administrative hinterland of Westminster. This is constructed over time in phases to an overall design by architects Howard and Partners.

A complete consolidation and reinvention in 2008, enclosing courtyards and inserting opportunistic pop-ups, is let to tenants Burberry as their headquarters. This introduces a new impetus to the regeneration of the surrounding area, previously known only for its governmental and institutional occupants.

Horseferry House, London, by Allford Hall Monaghan Morris for Derwent London. Completed 2008. 

Drawing: Ground Floor plan of Horseferry House - 1935

Source: City of Westminster Archives

Horseferry House was originally built by an architectural firm called E Howard and Partners in the 1930s as an office/retail block.

Letter: Correspondence relating to the site boundaries between the architect and the council - 1932-3

Source: London Metropolitan Archives, City of London

The building was built in two phases, the smaller north block first, followed by the south block – this was perhaps because the boundaries of the site were initially not defined as is indicated in this correspondence.

Article - Burberry new headquarters - Domus Plus magazine - May 2009

A Japanese article showing the new Burberry Headquarters at Horseferry House.

Magazine - Property Week – print - 11th May 2007

A small article documenting Burberry’s move from Haymarket to Horseferry House. Image shows old HQ and a Burberry advertisement.  

Television Centre

Photograph by Timothy Soar, 2014

A site continuously associated with exhibition, education and entertainment after being chosen for the Franco-British Exhibition in 1908, whose exotic architecture gives the area its name – White City.

The BBC opens its new television headquarters in 1960, its iconic form derived from architect Graham Dawbarn’s back-of-an-envelope ‘question-mark’ sketch.


After 50 years of continuous broadcasting, the BBC substantially relocates to Salford whilst maintaining a significant presence at White City, allowing the site to be reconfigured as studios, housing, offices, hotel and private club.

Television Centre Masterplan, London, by Allford Hall Monaghan Morris for Stanhope, Mitsui Fudosan and AIMCO. In progress.


Book - Higgs Hill book - 1960

A beautiful publication charting the history of the BBC Television Centre.

Photo: White City Exhibition - 1926

Source: Hammersmith and Fulham Archives and Local History Centre 

The site where the BBC Building now sits was initially the White City Exhibition Grounds.

Press release - Stanhope press release - 20th July 2012

An official Stanhope press release stating AHMM appointed as architects to the project.

Drawing – ‘Question mark doodle’ Graham Dawbarn sketch

Source: Wordsearch publishers Graham Dawbarn’s initial sketch for the BBC Television Centre dated 1st December 1949.

Dalek - Toy/ Action figure -2014

A toy Dalek representative of the 1965 era.

A Blue Peter Competition winner’s badge - 2014

Barking Central

Photograph by Timothy Soar, 2014

This is the story of the erosion of a town centre over time and how private money has enabled a public space to be remade. Previously accommodating a rope works and a lemonade factory, the site becomes a backwater by the late 20C, with Barking Town Hall and the Library left stranded.

A new town centre emerges out of a complex development equation, predicated on the Library’s retention (now encapsulated within a new apartment block), and with it the reintroduction of a suitably civic setting for the Town Hall.

Barking Central, London, by Allford Hall Monaghan Morris for Redrow Regeneration and the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham. Completed 2010.


Etching - Conjectural reconstruction of Barking Abbey

Source: RIBA Library Photographs Collection

The Barking Abbey (now demolished) was situated next to the town centre.

R Whites lemonade can - 2014

Photo: Barking Central Library, 1989
Source: London Borough of Barking and Dagenham Archives and Local Studies Centre

Photograph of the old Barking Library, refurbished by AHMM in 2010.

Map: Old Barking Town - 1653
Source: London Borough of Barking and Dagenham Archives and Local Studies Centre

This is a map showing the town centre of Barking at approximately the same location as today, in 1653.

Newspaper: Barking a Dagenham Post, New chapter for library taking shape by Natalie Hoodless - 28th June 2006

Source: Barking and Dagenham Post

A newspaper article describing the revelation of the Barking Central development. 


The Battleship Building 

Photograph by Timothy Soar, 2014

A triangular site defined in the 18C and 19C by the arteries of the industrial revolution – Nash’s canal and Brunel’s railway. Originally occupied by a Jewish school, it is redefined by the elevated mass of the Westway in the mid 20C, creating a new, raised datum and undercroft below.


Into this new site, Bicknell and Hamilton introduce a transport maintenance depot in 1968 to mitigate and exploit these levels. It lies abandoned for many years to the underworld of the local rave scene, before reinvention as a head office and design studio for Monsoon Accessorize.


The Battleship Building, London, by Allford Hall Monaghan Morris for Monsoon Accessorize London and Wymore. Completed 2001.

Drawing: Site plan for Jewish school on 179 Harrow Road - 1904

Source: City of Westminster Archives

In the late 19th Century, a Jewish school was constructed on the same site where the Battleship Building stands today. This document refers to some additions that were made to the school building in 1904.

Map : Paddington Station - 1953

Source: City of Westminster Archives

The Battleship Building was originally built as a Rail Maintenance Depot. Although it was only finally built in 1968, this is an OS Map from the 1950s that shows the outline of the building on the site.

Magazine: The Architectural Review, ‘Fashion Victor’ April 2002

Source: EMAP

An article on the recasting of the Battleship building by AHMM, from railway depot building to fashion house HQ.

Book: New British Architecture by Robert Maxwell
Thames and Hudson, 1972

A chapter contains a brief history of Battleship as the maintenance depot for British Rail in 1965. The chapter includes the site layout, plans for various aspects of the building and a photograph of the exterior of Battleship.





Exhibition Location