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Brief Published: 17 Jan 2012

A Room for London Launches


Providing accommodation and living artwork rolled into one, A Room for London has been unveiled on the roof of London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall – in the form of Le Roi des Belges houseboat.

Designed by London-based architect David Kohn and British artist Fiona Banner, the houseboat was the winning entry in an open competition to create an architecturally intriguing place to stay during the London 2012 Olympics. It forms part of British philosopher Alain de Botton’s Living Architecture initiative, which builds architecturally innovative but affordable holiday homes around the British coast. Moored on the concrete roof of the 1960s concert hall on the Southbank, the temporary structure – which will be in situ for the whole of 2012 – offers guests stunning views of the River Thames and the London skyline.

The timber-lined interior is inspired by English author Joseph Conrad’s 1903 novel Heart of Darkness, which is set on the Thames and the River Congo in a boat also named Le Roi des Belges. Decked out to accommodate two people who can stay for one night during 2012, it features a galley kitchen, dining area, two single beds that can be pushed together, and a shower room. There is also a library on the upper floor, offering shelves stacked with books about London.

As well as offering accommodation, A Room for London will also serve as an arts venue with a programme of visiting international writers, musicians, and artists who will stay and work in the houseboat for one night during its residency on the riverside roof.

A Room for London

David Kohn

Fiona Banner