ceramic water fountains for london by zaha hadid + studio weave
image © zaha hadid architects
all images courtesy of the building centre




a host of leading british architects have unveiled proposals for public water fountains to be installed on the streets of london. the six distinctly different designs are presented at the ‘kiosk’ exhibition, organized by the architects’ journal in collaboration with promoters turkish ceramics. the structures are envisioned as vibrant landmarks for the city that also function as practical communal resources. the full list of offices taking part includes zaha hadid architects, hopkins architects, eric parry architects, ADAM architecture, studio weave and allford hall monaghan morris (AHMM).


during the late 17th century, kiosks were considered charitable fountains, paid for by the sultan, to dispense free water to citizens. these freestanding structures were often made from marble with intricately crafted ceramic tilework. as these small-scale buildings became more prevalent across western europe, the term came to mean a stand that supplied everyday products such as tickets, newspapers and cigarettes.


the brief for the six practices was to return to the term’s original definition, developing a ceramic based structure which dispensed drinking water and referenced the architectural history of the kiosk. participants were also asked to consider three different sites in london – exhibition road, soho and the south bank. the exhibition is intended to encourage debate about how we use public space and the facilities a city should provide for its occupants.


the ‘kiosk’ exhibition will be displayed at the building centre from february 21 – march 14, 2014.

zaha hadid london water fountain kiosk exhibition designboom
image © hopkins architects




‘our kiosk aims to make the dispensing of water a celebrated urban event which will draw people together and add drama to the public realm in london. the design is a direct response to the ceramics brief and it is worth emphasizing that we had enormous fun during the process – which is hopefully evident in the outcome!’, ken hood, hopkins architects

zaha hadid london water fountain kiosk exhibition designboom
image © studio weave




‘the watering poles make tap water convenient, by extending london’s existing drinking fountain network, originally established by the victorians, into soho. their location is defined by the urban grain, and their height is defined by their context so that they can always be identified from afar. with the aim of re-appropriating an everyday, familiar object, we investigated the possibilities of a standardized tile product, rather than a custom design’, maria smith, studio weave.

zaha hadid london water fountain kiosk exhibition designboom
image © allford hall monaghan morris (AHMM)




‘inspired by the history of the kiosk in turkey, we took the brief as an opportunity to propose a recognizable and ubiquitous piece of street furniture for london, dispensing free drinking water from the mains beneath our feet. our design places glazed high strength industrial ceramic in a public setting, utilizing the long term color fastness and durability of this emerging material,’ will lee, allford hall monaghan morris

zaha hadid london water fountain kiosk exhibition designboom
image © ADAM architecture




‘the competition has opened my eyes to the extraordinary heritage and architectural possibilities of glazed tiles. and just as importantly, it has also made me think twice about buying bottle water,’ george saumarez smith, director of ADAM architecture

zaha hadid london water fountain kiosk exhibition designboom
image © eric parry architects




‘I wanted to combine the pleasurable object of the ottoman precedent with the everyday needs of a hungry city like london’, eric parry, eric parry architects