Skene Catling de la Pena

A boat called INTOLERANCE (Regents Canal, 2010)

The brief was to create a boat for living in and travelling on through London's network of waterways. It is a 'wide-beam narrow-boat’ that lets in maximum light, but that can be completely closed up to discourage attack on the rougher urban canals. The client is a filmmaker who encouraged the stealth-like, almost hostile exterior. He has two children, which demanded games of reconfiguration for maximum space, flexibility and privacy. The design rethinks the familiar canal boat as a space for living in rather than transporting goods, keeping elements of the traditional design where it seemed rational.

The cast glass blocks or teeth form a multifaceted strip along the gunnels, reflecting and animating images of the canal as the boat moves through the water; a skewed narrative or re-reading of the city. This developed through collaboration with glass artist Matt Durran. The glass is recycled from television and computer screens: the waste product in the reclamation of heavy metals, but retains its own mysterious inner glow. The glass reads as metallic during the day, letting light through while retaining privacy, and creating the impression of being underwater. At night the strip gleams as a curious streamlined waterside presence.

Project Team: Charlotte Skene Catling, Jaime de la Peña, Markus Bergstrom, Samuel Chisholm

Collaborators / Consultatnts: Artist: Matt Durran. Current projects include a collaboration with The Royal Free Hospital, Hampstead, to develop a pioneering cartilage form making technique using glass moulds. Mechanical and Electrical: Downie Consulting Engineers. Manufactured by Colecraft Engineering, Long Itchington, Warwickshire.