Canning Town Caravanserai

The Canning Town Caravanserai was a five-year occupation of a vacant site in east London. Ash Sakula won the project in a competition held by the Mayors of London and Newham in preparation for the 2012 Olympic Games. 

Conceived as a place of succour and exchange, we described the project as a Caravanserai after the inns that lined the ancient silk-trading routes through Asia and Europe. These hostelries were lively meeting places, where travellers sought refreshment, shelter and entertainment, and traded goods, knowledge and ideas.

Behind high blue construction hoardings, Ash Sakula gave life to a wonderland built with waste. On this temporary campground of structures, gardens, field kitchens, market stalls, workshops and performance space, absolutely everybody was welcome to come and make, grow, trade and perform. Tea vans mixed with art workshops, food stalls flourished, allotments blossomed and children played with sand, while students turned wooden pallets into structures and furniture. 

After five years the Caravanserai was dismantled. Its site now forms part of Canning Town's new town centre.

Read more about the concept of modern caravanserais over here.

An Ash Sakula self-initiated project

Competition Team: EXYZT, Space Makers, Community Links, The Kindest Group, Technology Will Save Us, Wayward Plant Registry, Atmos, Building Crafts College

Live Project: 2011-2015