Workshop 01 / Longplayer

Location: Trinity Buoy Wharf, 64 Orchard Place, London E14 0JW

Client: Longplayer Trust, Contact : Lara Clifton

Facilitators: Robert Thum, Lara Clifton


DESCRIPTION: fixings and finishing. Students need to ensure that they are realistic in what they can deliver so as to not leave things unfinished on site. Students will also need to commit to material provided and work within the economy of means at the start of the project, while being ambitious with design aspirations and turning the ‘economy of means’ from a perceived difficulty into an architectural merit.

INTRODUCTION: This project relates to the design and build of alterations to the physical home of Longplayer. This new study centre will house the central hub computer from which Longplayer is playing, a display of singing bowls from Longplayer Live, a reception area, reading room and listening post. Longplayer is based in the Experimental Lighthouse at Trinity Buoy Wharf, London, E14.

THE BRIEF: To design an exciting harmonious home for the Longplayer computer, the Longplayer bowls, a reading space and a new reception area in the mezzanine space of the Experimental Lighthouse.

The design will need to incorporate the following elements:

LONGPLAYER HUB: The Longplayer hub is the computer from which Longplayer is performed at the Lighthouse. Currently housed in a modified garden shed at the front right hand side of the mezzanine it is suggested that moving the shed to where the desk currently sits at the end of the mezzanine, would be far more relevant – it being the “heart” of Longplayer.

BOWL DISPLAY: There are a total of 234 bowls in the Longplayer Live instrument. The display needs to both store the bowls in a safe, ordered manner, while presenting them to the public. Each bowl is a different size but a space needs to be allowed for each bowl that is 50cm diameter x 20cm height – the size of the largest bowl. In addition, each bowl has an inscription on it that would need to be faced so that visitors can read it. In a sense these bowls have been the catalyst for the renovation and rejuvenation of the space that we propose. It would be far better that they live on shelves, in cabinets, where they can be displayed and easily found when needed.

RECEPTION AREA: A small, welcoming reception area would need to be designed with a desk, chair, heater and some storage

READING ROOM: An area is already set aside for reading in the mezzanine, near a large round window. It currently contains headphones and information on Longplayer. We are looking to this becoming a more comfortable area, housing a library of books related to ideas around Longplayer. We would also like to incorporate at least one computer for watching films, reading online material etc. The idea is that it will expand over time so consideration should be made to a modular shelving system that could grow with the library. Chairs/seats for reading. This area could also incorporate coffee tables/side tables/ featured lighting.

LISTENING POST: This will remain situated in the Lantern Room upstairs. However consideration should be made to furniture (i.e. Chairs) in the space and a continuity of design that will link the Lantern Room with the Mezzanine design.

SIGNS: The design will need to incorporate the existing signs in the building which explain the set up and operation of Longplayer. The sign system can be reviewed if necessary and within cost parameters.


LIGHTING: There is not too much natural light in the space and serious thought needs to be given to illumination. We imagine lighting that is not too bright but creates a sympathetic ambience with the music, and permits reading in any areas where that is necessary. The materials and furnishings should follow this principle too. We don’t want a gloomy atmosphere, rather something calm and gently uplifting.

ACCESS: Access to the space for materials is very limited. It consists of the narrow spiral staircase used by the public to enter the space and a trap door in the floor of the main space (a hoist can be set up to enable items to be winched up through the floor from the space below which is a warehouse with easy access for larger goods and materials).

SUSTAINABILITY AND LONGEVITY: In keeping with the ethos of Longplayer consideration should be made to the longevity and sustainability of materials used.

OUTCOMES: Drawings of the space, with a detailed design for the whole exhibition including lighting and signage. The fabrication of test models using CAD CAM software to deliver a client approved design furniture piece/s in large-scale model form using the laser cutter. The CAD files will be made available to the client for 1:1 fabrication.

KEY RISKS TO CONSIDER: The ‘ANNEX 1’ risk assessment is a document that asks you, the team to collaborate in anticipating the activities you are about to engage in, and to develop a strategy to deliver a safe and effective outcome. This is not a chore – it is core – an architect who cannot establish a safe design is not an architect. Complete the risk assessments online as a first draft via the blog and upload for review on the 19th September – as the design progresses, the risk assessment will be revised and uploaded as Revision A latest Thursday 23rd September.

Key risk considerations for  Workshop 1 LONGPLAYER: Responsibility for the laser cutter and its safe operation; travel to and from Trinity Buoy Wharf; modelmaking and wood assembly.


Longplayer is a 1000-year-long musical composition. It has played continuously since the first moments of the year 2000, and is designed to play on, without repetition or interruption, until the last moments of 2999.

Composed by Jem Finer and originally commissioned by Artangel, it is currently performed by computer.


Over the last 11 years, Longplayer has been performed by a number of computers around the world – from its primary location in the Experimental Lighthouse to listening posts in Brisbane, Alexandria and San Francisco. Beginning with its premiere in September 2009, Longplayer Live is the projects first step into the world of physical performance. Longplayer Live is performed on a giant, 66-foot-wide orchestral instrument, comprised of 234 Singing Bowls arranged in 6 concentric rings. The instrument is designed to play any section of Longplayer in the near or distant future. 11 years into its 1000-year life, Longplayer Live is Longplayers first big step towards a durable and long-lasting physical system on which to play.


The Experimental Lighthouse is open to the public every weekend. The music plays through speakers in the lantern room, and though that is the best location in which to listen, it can be heard too on the mezzanine floor, drifting down from above. Trinity Buoy Wharf had an important role to play in the development of London as a major port. For over 200 years Trinity Buoy Wharf was used for the manufacture of buoys, which were used as aids to navigation in the Thames estuary. The site’s history can still be seen in the buildings. The Experimental Lighthouse, was built in 1864 for scientist Michael Faraday. He was the scientific advisor to Trinity House and used the lighthouse for lighting experimentation. In 1998, Trinity Buoy Wharf was an empty, derelict site. Now it is a centre for the arts and creative industries with a community of over 350 artists and residents. Its role on the river remains strong as it is the home and operational base for Thames Clippers.

The Longplayer project has developed alongside Trinity Buoy Wharf with the creation of projects such as Longplayer Live. These developments, along with a wish to enhance the experience of visitors to Longplayer have necessitated a rethink of the set up at the Lighthouse.


WORKSHOP BLOG: is the main platform for the Construction week overview and organization. Here you can find the workshops’ briefs, blank forms to fill when required, and documents regarding the single workshops.

You are asked to upload the main documents referring to your workshop in the Main Blog. (Main DOCs = Main Blog)

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Brief / Workshop01

BBC London Lighthouses

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