The West End Centre for Scenic Craft

Manon Vilagines

Project description

RE: Craft* in architecture

“We should consider the increase of apparent labour as an increase of beauty in the building.”

– The Seven Lamps of Architecture, John Ruskin, 1849


The West End is in crisis. Lost in a vicious cycle of creative exodus, the area is losing its aura.

Can the relocation and representation of craftsmanship for the performing arts result in a revival of the West End’s aura?

This proposal – an appropriation and adaption of Basil Spence’s Orion House in London’s West End, offers a reflection of the craftsmanship and artisan spirit of set-making by designing workshops and a museum into a commemorative space in the heart of theatreland. The building design incorporates a ceremonial space where set-makers can display pride in their work, and conjurs a sense of awe for visitors towards both traditional crafting techniques and the unremitting spirit of craftsmanship.

Site location
Leicester Square

Manon Vilagines

Thanks to her parents’ international backgrounds – French father and Argentine mother – and their professions, Manon has had the opportunity to live in different countries. The United States, where she was born, Mexico, South Africa, France, Romania, Italy, Spain and France again before moving to the UK. Being exposed to the diversity of architectural forms has awakened her interest and motivated her choice to pursue a career in architecture.

Manon takes special interest in the ideas of culture and identity in architecture. Focusing her work on retrofitting and adaptive reuse projects at different scales which celebrate these themes.