I believe that we, as architects, have been conditioned to design absolutely everything almost too well, to over-design, creating developments completely devoid of any leftover space, and, perhaps unintentionally, not realising the significant value that these under-designed or ‘leftover’ spaces hold within the sub-cultural scenes.

The Rave Revolution (my Unit 04 work) fell into this trap, by attempting to propose a new development that had spaces for rave culture designed into the public realm I often found myself frustrated that I was designing anything at all. However, it is important to remember that the project acted as just one potential solution to the designing out of nightclubs in the city. It acted as an exploration, existing almost in a realm of fantasy, where its realisation would be unrealistic in today’s climate. For this it almost feels that continuing to technically rationalise aspects of my design would just be a futile task, one that does not contribute meaningfully to my cause.

Instead, my chosen technical enquiry looks at an intervention that can be applied more generally to sites across the city, exploring and demonstrating the application through a case study site in a new development in Canning Town. My enquiry asks:

‘What is the minimum amount of technical intervention required to create the essence of rave?’

With the COVID-19 pandemic, the subsequent economic recession and the new normality of working from home the city is beginning to see more and more abandoned office blocks and vacated retail units on the high street. It’s no surprise that architects are discussing the potential of these spaces for nightclubs and music venues as ideas of a ‘new normal’ are legitimising the possibilities of spending less time in offices.

My enquiry then aims to prepare a legible document that investigates how one would appropriate one of these spaces (or any other space within a new development) for a rave, while intending to retain the under-designed, DIY essence of underground rave culture. The document acts as a toolkit for anyone looking to appropriate spaces and includes a range of interventions, from the absolute basics (decks and a sound-system) to more substantial interventions required for a fully functioning venue (ventilation, circulation and acoustic insulation).

The toolkit is compiled through the exploration of a small number of case studies of venues currently operating (pre-pandemic) in London. Much alike the re-telling of a hazy night out, my exploration into these case studies has had to rely heavily on photographs found online and my own memory due to the current situation. The current closure of all nightclubs and the general lack of spatial documentation of these spaces meant that it was best and most accessible for me to look at a small number of spaces that I have had physical experience of.

As a body of work the rave toolkit is ever expansive, with the ability to add, subtract and adjust possible throughout its life, the toolkit changes as the scene and technology changes. Rave culture is and always has been fluid and the intention here is not to create a static set of regulatory conditions, but to provide guidance and advice so that, in theory, anyone could open a venue.

technical enquiry

I believe that we, as architects, have been conditioned to design absolutely everything almost too well, to over-design, creating developments completely devoid of any leftover space, and, perhaps unintentionally, not realising the significant value that these under-designed or ‘leftover’ spaces hold within the sub-cultural scenes.

The Rave Revolution (my Unit 04 work) fell into this trap. By attempting to propose a new development that had spaces for rave culture designed into the public realm I often found myself frustrated that I was designing anything at all. However, it is important to remember that the project acted as just one potential solution to the designing out of nightclubs in the city. It acted as an exploration, existing almost in a realm of fantasy, where its realisation would be unrealistic in today’s climate. For this it almost feels that continuing to technically rationalise aspects of my design would be a futile task, one that does not contribute meaningfully to my cause.

Instead, my chosen technical enquiry looks at an intervention that can be applied more generally to sites across the city, exploring and demonstrating the application through a case study site in a new development in Canning Town. My enquiry asks:

‘What is the minimum amount of technical intervention required to create the essence of rave?’

With the COVID-19 pandemic, the subsequent economic recession and the new normality of working from home the city is beginning to see more and more abandoned office blocks and vacated retail units on the high street. It’s no surprise that researchers are discussing the potential of these spaces for nightclubs and music venues as ideas of a ‘new normal’ are legitimising the possibilities of spending less time in offices. My enquiry then aims to prepare a legible document that investigates how one would appropriate one of these spaces (or any other space within a new development) for a rave, while intending to retain the under-designed, DIY essence of underground rave culture. The document acts as a toolkit for anyone looking to appropriate spaces and includes a range of interventions, from the absolute basics (decks and a sound-system) to more substantial interventions required for a fully functioning venue (ventilation, circulation and acoustic insulation).

The toolkit is compiled through the exploration of a small number of case studies of venues currently operating (pre-pandemic) in London. Much like the re-telling of a hazy night out, my exploration into these case studies has had to rely heavily on photographs found online and my own memory due to the current situation. The current closure of all nightclubs and the general lack of spatial documentation of these spaces meant that it was best and most accessible for me to look at a small number of spaces that I have had physical experience of.

As a body of work the rave toolkit is ever expansive, with the ability to add, subtract and adjust possible throughout its life, the toolkit changes as the scene and technology changes. Rave culture is and always has been fluid and the intention here is not to create a static set of regulatory conditions, but to provide guidance and advice so that, in theory, anyone could open a venue.

CASE STUDIES

The toolkit is compiled through the exploration of a small number of case studies of venues currently operating (pre-pandemic) in London. Much alike the re-telling of a hazy night out, my exploration into these case studies has relied heavily on both my own memories and photographs found online due to the situation with the pandemic. The current closure of all nightclubs and the general lack of spatial documentation of these spaces meant that it was best and most accessible for me to look at a small number of spaces that I have had physical experience of. The dancefloor is an interesting space to technically analyse as the typical user will only ever experience the effects of the equipment in the space, foggy haze, flashing lights, deafening sound, without knowing what creates them. These elements contribute to the atmospheric experience of a dancefloor, to the ‘otherworldliness’ of a night club, but what are they and how are they used? The case studies analyse the relevant technical elements that contribute to this atmosphere and they affect the transmission of sound.

CORSICA STUDIOS: ROOM 1

GROUND FLOOR PLAN

 
 
 

FOLD : ROOM 1

FABRIC : ROOM 1

 

TOOLKIT

SOUND EQUIPMENT

FIRE PLAN

ACOUSTIC INSULATION

INFRASTRUCTURE

LIGHTING EQUIPMENT

VENTILATION

LIGHTING RIGS

CAPACITY

The toolkit outlines the key considerations necessary to build a nightclub. Some elements are more crucial than others in providing the essence of rave, but all are necessary for a fully licensed venue to operate. As stated prior this rave toolkit should be ever expansive, with the ability to add, subtract and adjust possible throughout its life, the toolkit changes as the scene and technology changes. 

 
 

SITE

To explore the technical implications of appropriating an existing space within a development I have chosen to look at a case study example that inserts a venue space into a commercial unit in a recent development in Canning Town. Hallsville Quarter is the new development by Link City, bringing hundreds of new homes, commercial units, a supermarket and a medical centre to Canning Town. The first phase, built in 2012, comprised of a Morrisons supermarket with additional commercial unit and housing on the floors above grid numbers 12-15 [see below]. Directly above the supermarket unit [Unit 1 - see below] is a false ground floor, providing an outdoor courtyard for the residential developments above. The case study takes the available commercial unit [Unit 3 - see below] and looks how it can be appropriated into a licensed venue with life span over 5 years.

 

drawings: plan

drawings: plan

The first way to tackle issues of noise leakage is in the spatial arrangements. Several design decisions have been made in the layout of the case study venue that show consideration of the transmission of noise throughout the venue. A fire exit strategy must also be taken into account when planning the layout, ensuring that each of the dancefloors have two exits, which simultaneously eases circulation and adds to the maze-like spatial confusion that one typically gets in a venue.

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DRAWINGS DOWNLOADABLE AS PDF VIA BUTTON ABOVE

drawings: Details

The dancefloor would be the space that creates the largest amount of noise, with a particular focus on wanting to isolate low frequencies that tend to travel the furthest. To prevent sound transmitting both airborne and structure borne, the box-in-a-box construction method is a popular solution within the industry that allows the dancefloor to sit separate from the buildings structure, in order to minimise structure borne sound transmission.

The most common and most effective box-in-a-box construction uses a Jack-Up LDS Rubber Floor that would provide the best acoustic insulation treatment. This method however requires concrete to be poured on site and is not always a feasible option. To create the ‘light touch’ approach that responds to the enquiry of the least amount of intervention needed, a lightweight acoustic floor system with rubber and springs is detailed. This avoids the unnecessary and cost-intensive pouring of concrete and allows the structure to remain light while providing appropriate absorption for impacts and low frequencies. This solution does not require altering the existing fabric at all and only builds upon and into the pre-existing structure.

DRAWINGS DOWNLOADABLE AS PDF VIA BUTTON ABOVE

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