Agents of Change, better known as AOC, are a group of architects, urbanists, and interpreters who have impressed everyone with there challenging projects. Founded in 2005 and based in East of London by directors Tom Coward and Geoff Shearcroft. There were two more co-founders Daisy Froud and Vincent Lacovara who have later on decided to take different paths. Tom Coward and Geoff Shearcroft have studied in Architecture at the University of Nottingham. Also, the Royal College of Art and have been well recognized because of their dissertation projects and works. Globally they are well known because of unique design choices, inventive structures, and themes. Works they have done throughout shows great diversity, which incorporates landscapes, exhibitions, temporary segments and even competitions. They prefer colorful and textured patterns rather than a typical housing design. Some of their recent works are ” The Green, a low carbon Community Centre for residents, A Spa school for young people with Autism, St. Saviour’s and St. Olave’s Secondary School, New galleries in Tower of London and most popular Walk in the Olympic Park for London in 2012″. They have won many architectural and design competitions, which also played a good card in their practices and helped them be internationally known. Directors of AOC are not only into constructing but also into lectures. They teach in London and also visit Europe and USA for short lectures. Their practices have gotten them into judging for Berkshire, Hackney and also Southward (AOC). As Financial Times would like to say about them are “AOC are a group of culturally engaged, serious and talented designers and polemicists with an unusually broad outlook focused not on the development of a house style but a committed engagement with communities, clients and parts of
the city” (AOC).
AOC is internationally known because of their temporary structures. Some of them are No:1 Lower Carbon Drive, V&A Retreat, Billboard Lab, One Planet pavilion and the one I will be talking about is Lift: the new parliament (AOC). Temporary structures are getting more popular as time is passing by. Nowadays popup shops, restaurants, and even theatres are in high demand. People get very fascinated by them and like this small changes in areas. The temporary structure goes from very tiny space in between markets to substantial open parks and streets. Some of them are planned beforehand and even takes a lot of time to make it happen, and some are even faster, spontaneous or even illegal. Also, the time of these structures are unpredictable, some are just on weekends, and some go by up to 5 years. Themes don’t only stop to cafes and entertainment; they can be political, technology or even showcases of rare items. This is the beauty of these types of structures (Williams, Lesley, and Bishop, Peter, 2012).
AOC’s ‘the new parliament” created incorporation with The London International Festival of Theatre (LIFT). LIFT is Led by Mark Ball and happens every year where they form a mobile theatre for people to enjoy and meet groups of people. Every year they set up a global competition for designers and architects to create a fresh design from their visions. It is held with the help of The Architecture Foundation and judged with The Glass House and local architects. In 2008, it was given to the AOC, and that’s how the new parliament was created (THE GLASS-HOUSE, 2006).
It would be not only a meeting place but has to be multipurpose. Eventually, ideas led to the idea of making two very distinctively different themes at day and night. Therefore at day, it would be a place to hold ceremonies, debates, meetings, workshops, and exhibitions. And by night it would a very dark and cozy place with fireplaces and activities such as radio broadcasts, films and documentation would be going on. To make all of this happen, the façade had to be in a way that it could be transformed into any position in any way. AOC only had the budget of 1000 pound, and with this amount, they had to carefully spend it on stages, materials, and foundation overall. They started to mix and match simple elements and available items such as a tent from Argos or a BNQ shower curtain. These items approved to be cheap but yet very colorful, affordable and most popular. To create the backbone for all the ideas, the steel frame was provided. The temporary structure shows almost an oval-shaped plan with a vast rectangle cloth going over all the construction and representing a roof (WOODMAN, Ellis, 2008). Use of fabric is the oldest form of architecture as a covering. Earlier years, skins and leaves were used, and as time passed, new technology and methods were created, and other forms became more popular. Fabrics are very versatile, it can be used inside, outside in roofs, different shapes, draped or any type desired. That is the reason why even after so many years, it is still a wanted option among materials. The fabric is best described as “the material or membrane used to create lightweight structures.” fabrics are a widespread use of materials for outdoor parties, circuses and even in stadiums and foyers (ARMIJOS, Samuel J.). As Shearcroft says in an interview: We wanted to build a tent that didn’t look like a tent. There is a fascinating design going on the façade of the roof. The architect requested everyone who was working on the project to color the quilting design to show teamwork and youthfulness (WOODMAN, Ellis, 2008). Everything starting from structure to area to materials is very welcoming, and it represents an open invitation to passers. Because of its popularity, it has been built four times in Stratford Park, Newham, Southbank Centre, Lambeth, Shoreditch Park, Hackney, Abbey Green, Barking.