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afternoon tea structure

(as a part of Design Haus Liberty) team in charge: Robert Gallo, Dagmar Zvonickova, Lisa Hinderdael, Dara Huang

status: public architectural competition - 1st Prize 

location: London, UK

year: 2016

“There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                   Henry James

when coming up with our concept for the temporary community structure, we started by thinking about how humans interact today.  Aided by a rush-technological era and advanced infrastructure, a new lifestyle of living has emerged in which we have found a new way of being “alone together”. Instead of face-to-face communication, we spend most of our free time texting and reading emails. Recent studies have shown that 1 out of every 4 people socializes more online than in person

reacting to this trend we wanted to bring this issue to the forefront of our design response and offer people an Afternoon tea structure that could be multiplied across vacant sites in London. The structure creates a resting place for users to stop for few minutes, have a break, and socialize with one another

afternoon Tea has a strong tradition in the United Kingdom. The social event was introduced by Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, and a close friend of Queen Victoria, in the year 1840. She complained of “having that sinking feeling” during the late afternoons and wanted something small to satisfy her hunger, nothing too large just something to fill her until dinner time. A tray of tea, bread and butter were brought to her room during late afternoons, and after a while she started to invite friends to join her. The ritual quickly became a fashionable social event now engrained in English culture

space for socializing



our structure will act as a public intervention and create a platform to partake in the English tradition of 5 o’clock tea whilst escaping from the modern metropolis. The main design feature is the herringbone pattern, which is extruded to varying heights enabling multiple interactions with the installation. The entire structure will be built from used wooden palettes and the extruded forms would be clad on top with a traditional tile that resembles china for easy cleaning. The simple design results in a solution which is both meaningful to the public and easy to construct so that any community can acquire the materials and come together to partake in the building process

130 pallets

basic tools

basic working space

local community

building process as a community activity

to draw on the social tradition surrounding the British 5 o’clock tea, we wanted to establish a process of building which would also create social activity. The goal is for local communities to gather together and build each structure

basic module

600 x 100 mm

16 modules = 1 pallet

2077 modules = 130 pallets

zero-waste structure

a sustainable design was very important for us, as the structures will only be temporary. With this in mind, we focused on a zero-waste installation


380 - 450 mm


700 - 750 mm


830 - 920 mm


1000 - 1100 mm

multifunctional structure

different height levels will allow people to use the structure in various ways

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