Brixton bridge designer wins health commission

portrait of man
Farouk Agoro. Photo: University of Brighton School of Architecture & Design

Brixton-based Farouk Agoro, designer of the Brixton Road bridge, is one of a collective that will create an artwork at the Tessa Jowell Health Centre in East Dulwich after winning a competition run by Dulwich Picture Gallery.

The South London collective – Bamidele Awoyemi, Farouk Agoro and Livia Wang – will work with the community to develop a large-scale artwork for the centre’s reception area, to be revealed in August.

The winning design The Health Centre’s Quilt was chosen by judges including artists, NHS and gallery staff. 

Fabric patterns and techniques will celebrate different cultures and identities. The work will also consider the role of health centres and the rich cultural diversity of visitors to the Tessa Jowell Health Centre (TJHC), named after the MP for Dulwich and West Norwood from 1997 to 2015

She campaigned for better care for cancer patients and died herself as the result of a brain tumour in 2018.

Creative workshops with local people will influence the final design for the centre’s reception area.

large modern building
The Tessa Jowell Health Centre in East Dulwich

Jane Findlay, head of programme and engagement at Dulwich Picture Gallery, said: “What stood out for me was the personal stories embedded in textile, which can express shared histories of our community.”

Sinta Tantra, an artist and member of the judging panel, said: “This new public artwork will function as an inspiring platform for mental health and wellbeing whilst weaving together the individual stories of local residents and exploring the very heart of what makes Dulwich so diverse.”

Gerry Owen, estates programme director at NHS South East London CCG (Southwark) and member of the judging panel, said: “These local artists offered a considered and exciting proposal, which will transform the centre of the building.

“I really liked that they plan to involve patients and staff in developing the work, and it’s exciting to know that our visitors will be met with an uplifting piece of artwork each time they visit.” 

three people in urban setting
The winning team Farouk Agoro, Livia Wang and Amidele Awoyemi. Photo: University of Brighton School of Architecture & Design

This is the first of four commissions that will run over the next two years as part of a partnership between Dulwich Picture Gallery and NHS South East London CCG.

Farouk Agoro, a graduate of the University of Brighton School of Architecture & Design, is on this year’s Architects Journal “40 under 40” list. He works in Brixton as both an artist and an architect. He was shortlisted in the 40 under 40 list as a member of Nooma studio.

He heads up this collaborative architectural studio whose inspiration is most often found in the physical, historical and cultural layers of the room they occupy, whether individually or as communities.

Agoro’s work as an artist explores repetition and colours as a way to express emotions.