Photos: Studio Weave
The famed spot of Aldgate marks the place of the historic Roman entrance into the City of London and now lies at the center of great development spurred on by, what else, this summer's Olympic Games. Here, a new wood pavilion rises above the street like some intricately carved bird cage, only scaled up to the size of a small temple. The folly, entitled "Paleys upon Pilers", was designed by young London-based firm Studio Weave as a part of High Street 2012, an initiative intended to enhance the route between the City of Aldgate and the Olympic Park with various projects. Perched high on pillars, the new pavilion also commemorates Aldgate's most distinguished resident, Geoffrey Chaucer, and the poems he penned when he quartered in a small room above the erstwhile gate.
The pavilion's form abstracts the volume and dimensions of Chaucer's lodgings ("a small niche with a pitched roof"), while its embellishments were derived from the vivid imagery of the author's poems 'The House of Fame' and 'The Parliament of Fowls'--both of which were written while Chaucer was living in Aldgate from 1374 to 1386. An intricately embroidered timber lattice is set aloft on slender columns, each emblazoned with colorful patterns that reference medieval illustrations depicting Chaucer's manuscripts. According to the architects, the pavilion "speaks to Chaucer’s elevated temples, while providing a focus for the public space and highlighting the extent of the old City walls."
Paleys upon Pilers officially opens tomorrow, Friday, July 27th, coinciding with the launch of Games, and will remain open throughout the summer.