Introducing KHBT to Maindee Triangle

Starting last week Maindee Unlimited are working with architects and artists Karsten Huneck and Bernd Truempler - known as KHBT and pictured below - to develop proposals for the Chepstow Road public toilets and surrounding land at Livingstone [we also call this the Triangle]. 

KHBT have worked widely across the UK and Germany. The impressive portfolio that presented at the July New Paths gathering proved that they always work hard to understand and appreciate what is already on the ground; that is to say that they never produce something that conforms to a 'signature' style. As we are already starting to push ideas like 'incredible edible' around different sites on Chepstow Road we feel that this is a good time to work with people like Karsten and Bernd to produce proposals for the Triangle space.

KHBT at the New Paths Gathering July 2017

This blog introduces KHBT and also gives a borader understanding of where we can go with this project.

Who are KHBT? 

Karsten and Bernd are both from Germany and emerged from a network called the Office for Subversive Architecture - or the OSA. Karsten is now based in London whilst Bernd mostly works in Germany.

They gave examples of their work to the New Paths Gathering on Thursday July 13th. Examples include an old signal box in the east end of London, an art pavilion at the Liverpool Biennial and a car park in Koln in Germany.  Their work is brave and sometimes a little controversial; such as the Extended Cloister in Torquay.

In the latter example people were initially resistant to the work, but changed their minds when children started to explore. We learned from Karsten and Bernd that:

'Kids play within the space... they don't hesitate.'

We are hoping that Bernd and Karsten can help us find a playful approach to the land opposite the library on Chepstow Road [what we call The Triangle].


What is The Triangle?

For some years we have been interested in this piece of triangular land opposite the library [where Jo Sutton and Nathalie Camus are pictured below] and at the junction of Chepstow Road and Livingstone Place.

Looking back in time this site has been the location not only for the current public toilets, but also for benches and a fountain. There are even stories that an old army tank used to sit on this land.

Jo Sutton and Nathalie Camus

Some will remember that Mr and Mrs Clark ran a week of inviting the neighbours around to paint in October 2016 or how artist Stephanie Roberts ran community ceramic some workshops in the spring and summer of the same year. In principle the landowners Newport Council would be willing for Maindee Unlimited to develop the site and find a different purpose for the land. We need KHBT to help find an imaginative purpose for this site that works.


Preparing an initial design

Following the New Paths presentation we held an open day on the Triangle for Karsten and Bernd to meet people. A mystery man [see below] lovingly prepared homemade tomato soup and cake for us all to eat.

Soup and cake on the Triangle

As the afternoon developed we had a chance for lots of people to talk to Karsten and Bernd. For example, we found from some young mothers that their children liked to have an open area to play on. Others were keen for space to relax on a warm day.

Of real interest we found out that the Incredible Edible team from the library, led by Caroline Williams [pictured left below], would very keen to grow more fruit and vegetables on the site.

Caroline and Karsten on The Triangle

We even got a comment on our Instagram post that there could be a large mural by a graffiti on the wall between the toilets and Burger Stackers.

It was also interesting to find out the block used to be divided down the middle with one side for women and one for men [which is now closed off]. Effectively half of the toilet block has potential to be reused for a new purpose.


What will we do next?

Maindee Unlimited have commissioned Karsten and Bernd to complete a sketch design and model of their proposed reworking of the site. These are scheduled for delivery by the start of September.

Click on the image of Bernd [below] or follow this link for a little Instagram film which describes see how they responded to the opportunity to spend time on the site and to also meet some of the people who dropped by for soup and a cake.

Bernd filmed on site


Please get in touch via or through Facebook, Twitter or Instagram if you have any comments or ideas.


Related Links

Karsten Huneck and Bernd Truempler KHBT

Office for Subversive Architecture OSA

Ceramic workshops with Stephanie Roberts from 2016

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