54 Ivy Street by Sam Jacob: child’s play and anything but

The FAT co-founder has taken an old London pub and created a playschool with a house on top that’s as fun for architecture buffs as it is for the under-fives The Ivy Street Family Centre is a small charity in Hoxton, east London, that provides a playschool – an “oasis of warmth and fun”, the website says – for local under-fives. Konstantin Melnikov (1890-1974) was a radical architect of early revolutionary Russia who built an astonishing house for himself in Moscow. The two wouldn’t have much in common, had they not been brought together by a punchy, romantic, multifaceted, cross-bred building that contains more ideas than others 50 times as big. This is 54 Ivy Street, by the architect Sam Jacob. It is both a house, originally intended for Jacob’s own use, and enlarged and enhanced premises for the playgroup. It’s a new building, a rounded brick structure, and an old one, retaining a fragment of a former pub where the charity started out in 1981. The building’s appeal is direct – childlike, you might say – a castle, a ship, a thing you can clamber over, with geometric openings through which a giant toddler might push matching shapes. It is also erudite, dense with architectural allusion. Continue reading...

Post a Comment