Edward Flore-Acuña

Master of Architecture (ARB/RIBA Part 2)


The ones who stay: The Latin Elephant in the Room

Cultural Resilience in a Gentrified City

The struggles of the Latin American community in London are common to the ones that other urban communities experience. They are constantly fighting gentrification and, in essence, always on the verge of losing control and ownership of the spaces they inhabit, have inhabited and helped build in the city.

The primary two examples of these struggles are the campaigns to save the Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre and the organised manifestations to save the Latin Village in Seven Sisters. Although one ended in bliss after Grainger Developer walked away from its plans to build luxury apartments in Seven Sisters, the Latin American community in Southwark suffered a significant loss when in April 2021, the plans for the demolition of the Elephant and Castle shopping centre were fulfilled and by doing so leaving several small traders without a place where to operate.

The Latin Elephant in the Room is a project that explores the issue of gentrification and subsequent urban resistance in London.

By testing the waters of the Thames river as an “uncontested” space, the tale of the Latin American resistance in London takes a step further in imagination where an architectural proposal in the form of a bridge is envisioned as the vital organism that keeps the community’s culture alive. The bridge also provides means to reproduce it and disseminate it to the other two communities at each end of the bridge as a strategy for integrating the newly arrived community into the already multi cultural fabric of London.

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