WHAT architecture - London

Pedley Street MUGA

Multi-Use Games Area
Scale600 sqm
LocationLondon, UK
ClientLondon Borough of Tower Hamlets
Budget€ 500000
Design Year2013

Some building acronyms are more unfortunate that others: abbreviating 'multi-use games area' as a MUGA is rather unfortunate when your site is Tower Hamlet's number one crime spot. This project takes a dodgy no-man's land left over from Transport for London's realignment of the East London Line and transforms it into a recreational area for youth. It is important however that this ballsports zone embrace its tough inner-city surroundings as social realism equates to respect out on the streets. Attitude is everything: a MUGA for youth stands in opposition to the sanitised world of child play's. Health and Safety Britain has 'rubberised risk' in case you fall over whilst playing! Ball sports are contact sports.

The passing overhead trains that intensify the gritty urban experience also provide a captive seated audience overlooking the MUGA. This is a marketing opportunity to provide capital revenue when the Council's public purse has been slashed by budget cuts. The playing surface is a horizontal billboard for tube passengers: this is adidasvertising. The railway bridge also provides for other forms of gametime grandstanding: covered spectatorship, tactical classroom and changing facilities.