A repurposed petrol station shows even an eye-sore should be given a second chance
White City is a district in the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham that has become best known for the Westfield Mall and Loftus Road stadium. Once upon a time however, it was also a thriving business hub and home to the sprawling headquarters of the BBC. But, when the broadcasting agency ultimately fragmented in 2013 – having decided to stop making programmes and move out of its HQ – the borough stepped in, putting together an ambitious regeneration plan that should see the area transform over the next decade into a desirable neighbourhood. The plan includes the construction of over 5,000 new homes, green spaces, an Imperial College university campus, office space and a branch of Soho House, as well as an expansion of the current Westfield site to include a much requested John Lewis department store. Yet, some facilities that were once vital to the BBC have remained abandoned. Craig & Karl, an artistic partnership that bridges New York and London, saw one such site – a derelict petrol station – as an opportunity for an art installation. “We view this project as the petrol station’s second life, or ‘wonder years’, which led us to use the words ‘Here After’ as a reference to heaven or Utopia,” explain Craig Redman and Karl Maier. “Now that the petrol station has fulfilled its duty, so to speak, it’s free to enjoy itself.” That ‘enjoyment’ will be playing host to pop-up events.