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Remembering the Future

Borough Road Gallery, Critical Care Symposium 

London South Bank University, 2018

St. Paul's Centre, Hammersmith,

London Festival of Architecture, 2017

This architecture and video installation explored older residents memories of home and housing as a means to spark imagination for a new intergenerational affordable housing scheme.

Created by Carolyn Defrin with 

designer Paul Burgess, Levitt Bernstein architects and residents from Hammersmith Untied Charities: Dinesh, Elsie, Peggy, Bryan, Bob, Kate and Clodagh

 'an opportunity to fuse architectural practice and expression with artistic vision and expression.' 

-Tim Hughes, former Chief Executive and Clerk to the trustees, Hammersmith United Charities

Resident and participant Elsie visits the installation and watches her own story with housing scheme managers Jill and Cathy, St. Paul's Centre June, 2017
Critical Care Symposium attendees visit the installation in its remount at Borough Road Gallery, March 2018

Residents share memories of Hammersmith and their home life to incite imagination for a new affordable intergenerational housing development planned with Levitt Bernstein Architects and Hammersmith United Charities. 

A sample of residents' stories 
(featuring Dinesh, Brian, Clodagh and Elsie)
From the practical to the expressive, the residents' reflections fill the architectural models that have been built by Levitt Bernstein to reflect the flats at the charity and inform future housing development.

Selection of Full Stories


"Here, the pronounce-ability of what matters to the resident is what drives the service provider, not the other way around. How space is used, the value of the oasis, of colour and interaction between neighbours as well as their proclivities for privacy, comes alive in these stories and in our method for storytelling. Considering design processes as a more artistic experiment guided predominantly by the values of residents, offers a new vision of consultation processes."   


 -excerpt from PhD thesis "Intra-vulnerabilities: co-creating culture with communities, funders and artists"  by Carolyn Defrin

'A sticky jammy dodger and crocheted places for my hands to sit. I love projection that hits actual things, the physical blueprint of the house, balsa-ed up into spaces - quite cold and alien - and the framing of the residents , their places and their memories. An intersection of that flimsy construction, the ephemeral projection light and the solid dark furniture seems to activate something of this housing scheme - something of the fragility and solidity of that existence. Nostos and Algia - the reconstruction of the lost home and the longing which delays the homecoming.


I move around the space and choose how much time to spend with Bob and how much with Peggy, but what is missed? There is shortbread and a digestive - fake grass too. Where does this spectacle happen? In its arrangements and fragments of encounters. I see the chair, the table and the universal symbol for door placed there. Blueprints leading me back to the building. Flats going up. Section 106 payments not made. Unaffordability. 'There's no strangers, there's no fear'. The aesthetics of housing.


Six people in a semi-circle face each other and watch. Sometimes I watch the person opposite. There is a gentle sense of interaction, a gentle question. the scruff of our neck is not grabbed. Time is in play and the piece settles around us a little more, rather than us being immersed or plunged into an experience. I don't think about my choices as much. This is not time bound. It is an opening in the day to be and distance is allowed.'    


-Dr. Joann Scott, discussant Critical Care Symposium

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