My exciting experience at Canning Town Caravanserai « Canning Town Caravanserai

My exciting experience at Canning Town Caravanserai

During the last three weeks, I have participated in the Canning Town Caravanserai project by Ash Sakula architects. Despite my short time as part of the Caravanserai team, I have managed to acquire knowledge and skills from the experience. I’m not just talking about understanding the technical language, the techniques, the reuse of materials, how various designs would fit the project objectives or how quickly I responded to different job requirements.

My name is Simone Marchetti, I am a student of architecture attending the second year at the University of Rome ‘La Sapienza’, Italy.  My time at Caravanserai was my first building experience and my first impression of the site was good … There was a lot to do but I appreciated very much the effort of the team in the construction of a complex worthwhile project like this. It is my belief that the foundation for this project is the community and the desire to create a connection between citizens. Sounds like a platitude, but putting the citizen in the foreground seems something unusual … now more and more architects are striving to create their own masterpieces, all intent on following their own new fashion design and new buildings detached from reality, detached from people who live there or nearby. It seems that they are losing the objective of architecture: to offer the people the chance to LIVE the place and the space. I felt that one of the objectives of this team was just rectify that – to try to build a place where it’s possible to create connections, creating human relations and allowing that place to be lived by people. The fact that this project IS for the people and that everyone could make their own contribution to it’s construction, and the community, fascinated me. For this reason, I was so happy to participate to this project and spent a lot of time and energy on it.

I saw this as my opportunity to understand how different the design phase, site build and the project implementation is for a project based on the reuse of

materials. For the first time, I faced the difficulties of implementing the construction of the bar, the ‘lake’, benches, theater chairs and other designed objects with the working tools (often seen but never used) and with recycled materials, such as wood and metal. It was truly a wonderful experience and being part of this vibrant community made me grow in many aspects:

  • on a human level – I felt part of a multilingual, enthusiastic and a passionate, growing community that welcomes anyone who is equally motivated;
  • on an intellectual and professional level – I understood many aspects of life ‘on-site’, something that I never had a chance to experience before this project.

What could be better than a team driven by passion to create (through the construction of design objects) other human relationships, other connections giving new life to a part of town?