Louis Pontikis


“ Imagination is the only weapon in the war against reality. ” 

Upon visiting Darnall, the first thing that was palpable was a sense of neglect, a somberness that clouded the area. I felt there was a lack of joy and lightheartedness; and as many of the locals I came across told me, it needed a place for children which could also potentially serve as a pleasant meeting space for adults and help unify the fragmented community. Beginning with the idea of creating a type of Alice-In-Wonderland “rabbit hole”, I thought of designing a colourful place which would not only be a children’s theatre, but also offer them reading and painting spaces. These would revolve around an ornamental, oversized tree: planting a metaphorical creative seed in the area, and scaling it out of proportion as an homage to Wonderland. All this is disguised behind a brick façade which imitates most other brick houses of the town… The only exterior clue as to something deviating from the norm lies in the large wooden green door (intentionally different from every other door in the area in both colour and size) which gave the theatre its name, and invites passersby in.


Situated around eighteen miles outside Sheffield, in a cloudy green hilly countryside, lies a rocky cave which goes by the name “Giant’s Hole”. Asked to design a shed for cavers to find shelter in after they would finish their expeditions into said cave, I thought it was important to provide for that in a form which honoured and complemented the gentle, undulating landscape morphology of the area. Inspired by the armadillo lizard – a species which naturally build their habitats in ‘holes’ – I created the shelter: composed of weathered metal, frosted glass and timber, materials chosen specifically for their ease of dismantlement and transience, it offers cavers a retreat, a place to huddle by the fire, proudly tell stories of their adventures, and organize their next quests.