Various projects by Takeshi Hayatsu and Unit 5 students of MA Architecture and Landscape, Kingston School of Art, Kingston University.

Under Construction

Takeshi Hayatsu & Collaborators

Onsite: 14 September – 20 December 2024
This project at Stanley Picker Gallery is part of London Design Festival 2024. 

‘Under Construction’ looks at more than a decade of ambitious live-build projects led by architect Takeshi Hayatsu, working together with an evolving cohort of collaborators, participants and community partners (including 121 Collective, Community Brain, Citizen Zoo and Dorich House Museum…) and developed and delivered collectively each year with the Unit 5 students from the Department of Architecture and Landscape at Kingston School of Art, Kingston University.

Since 2011, eleven innovative building projects have provided a series of imaginative and highly resourceful responses to the specific opportunities and challenges of chosen locations around the borough of Kingston and elsewhere, as well as to communities and their needs. ‘Under Construction’ will present visual and tactile materials on these diverse projects together with a specially commissioned film by films that will consider their impact on the collaborators and participants involved over the years. The film will follow the life of past projects as they are housed at various sites in Kingston, Tolworth and beyond, and how certain materials have since been recycled to become part of new community build projects in collaboration with Citizen Zoo, Community Brain, and 121 Collective – formed by student alumni of Hayatsu.

As a key part of ‘Under Construction’, an entirely new live build will take the Stanley Picker Gallery’s unusual island location as the site and subject for a series of evolving architectural interventions both inside and out, that will aim to shift and alter how the building itself behaves as a public gallery and ‘expanded studio’ and how visitors in turn respond and interact. Works will commence in September, during London Design Festival 2024, with elements under construction throughout the exhibition period and then remaining in-situ beyond.

Hayatsu has an approach to teaching through making. The projects have often started with a research trip to his home country Japan, where his students encounter traditional building methods and develop new skills and designs based on these experiences. Accordingly, each project has been developed to evolve through a collective and haptic understanding of materials, construction and craft techniques, and delivered through shared core values of community engagement and environmental sustainability.

Projects such as the ‘Kintaikyo Bridge’ (2011-12), a replica of 17th century Japanese wooden bridge or ‘Woodland Chapel’ (2013-14), a structure made for a local St Johns Primary School both made entirely from donated and recycled materials are exemplary of the economy of means and the ethos of DIY builds. ‘Temple’ (2014-15) and ‘Seminar House Pavilion’ (2015-16) were created for the garden of Dorich House Museum, each championing special techniques such as elaborate carpentry or yakisugi, a Japanese method for scorching timber. The following year, the ‘Barbican Tea House’ (2016-17) was a burnt timber cladded tea house specially commissioned for the exhibition ‘The Japanese House: Architecture and Lift After 1945’ at the Barbican Centre London, as a collaboration between architect Terunobu Fujimori, Takeshi Hayatsu and architecture and product design students from Kingston University.

‘SHEDx’ was a community engagement programme initiated by a community interest company The Community Brain in Kingston. Based on the notion of the university as a centre for productions and an incubator of new ideas, they built a series of sheds to establish a strong relationship between Kingston University and the local community. As part of the project ‘Heritage Shed’ (2017-18) housed a display an allotment culture. Like many other builds, this shed travelled to various contexts including the Victoria and Albert Museum, Hampton Court Flower Show and the Garden Museum. Hayatsu’s idea of democratising crafts have continued to unfold through recent collaborations such as the ‘Green Shed’ (2018-19) and ‘Nature Hide’ (2019-21), which involved schoolchildren decorating individual wooden panels with locally sourced clay paint, as well as public engagement elements of the ‘Surbiton Yatai’ (2017-18) and the ‘Lantern Procession’ (2023) launched with public processions.

Throughout the duration of ‘Under Construction’ at Stanley Picker Gallery, workshops and other public events will provide a chance for visitors to learn about and get involved with various elements of Hayatsu’s exciting live build project.


Takeshi Hayatsu is a Japanese architect based in London. Hayatsu studied architecture at Musashino Art University in Tokyo and Architectural Association in London. He worked for David Chipperfield Architects, Haworth Tompkins and 6a architects before establishing Hayatsu Architects in 2017. Alongside his practice he teaches MArch unit in Kingston School of Art. He also conducts annual summer school in Japan with Grizedale Arts. He is a member of Design Review Panel at Harrow Council.

Department of Architecture and Landscape, Kingston University. Architecture and Landscape are richly interconnected, and encompass aspects which are intellectual and embodied. Our situation as part of the School of Art and Architecture is key to our identity. The large workshops and the ethos of thinking through making speak of the inherent dynamic of how we see knowledge generated in the productive tension between tectonics and representation. This is a fundamental and essential part of how the department seeks to enable its students; firstly through a direct and immediate connection with how things are made and the nature of the spaces that result; and secondly with how it is represented critically.

121 Collective consists of architectural designers and makers with a special appreciation for craft, community and sustainability. After being introduced to the local community interest company The Community Brainduring their time as architecture students at Kingston School of Art, they have continued to work closely together on a range of community-led projects which revolve around inclusivity and play. 121 are based at Tolworth Main Allotments at the Farm of Futures, where they have converted an abandoned shed to their headquarters, creating a sustainable community hub which supports the growth of local ideas as well as food, and promotes cross-generational skill sharing, circular economy and the upcycling of materials. (Women’s Independent Collective) films, was founded in 2008 by Abbe Leigh Fletcher, Petra Reynolds, Sabela Pernas Soto and Claudia Vásquez Ramírez. They are a growing network of filmmakers from the MA film making course at Kingston School of Art. Their aims are to tackle gender inequality through film and challenge established hierarchical modes of production by working collectively across continents. To make filmmaking more accessible to women and girls and to constructively celebrate international women’s perspectives through film.

The full list of collaborators, as well as public events and activities programmed throughout will be continually updated on this page.