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The Hand Car Wash is a street-level incarnation of the ‘meanwhile’ use of vacant urban sites. Operating at the very margins of legality within the cash economy, these sites use manual labour to replace a process which was once automated.


We documented 18 different Hand Car Wash sites in South London in 2013, using a combination of drawing and photography. The drawings explore a highly effective ‘minimum architecture’ which is used to advertise and provide a service with the bare minimum of resources.


The architectural adaptation required to transform a vacant site is strictly functional, often limited to the erection of a roof covering. A large number of different signs are used to advertise the service, using variations of an accepted design language of bold text and yellow backgrounds.


The relative consistency of approach highlights the great variety of sites being used for this purpose. These include former petrol stations and industrial sites, railway arches, and the forecourts of pubs and housing blocks.


11 9 10 6

14

13 18

12 2

7 5

8

15 17

4

3

16

1

1

Herne Hill Car Wash

Herne Hill, SE24

2

Jamm Car Wash

Brixton Road, SW9

3

London Valeting Centre

Coldharbour Lane, SW9

4

Soapy Moo’s Car Wash

Herne Hill Road, SE24

5

Mo-Town Hand Car Wash

Loughborough Junction, SW9

6

Grange Hand Car Was

Grange Road, SE1

7

Shine Peckham Hand Car Wash

Copeland Road, SE15

8

Magic Hand Car Wash

Bedford Road, SW4

9

Newington Hand Car Wash

Newington Causeway, SE1

10

Borough Road Hand Car Wash

Borough Road, SE1

11

Fyco Hand Car Wash

Leake Street, SE1

12

Peckham Road Hand Car Wash

Peckham Road, SE15

13

Super Continental Hand Car Wash Parkhouse Road, SE5

14

Shorncliffe Road Hand Car Wash

Shorncliffe Road, SE1

15

Diamond Hand Car Wash

Ferndale Road, SW9

16

King’s Avenue Hand Car Wash

King’s Avenue, SW4

17

The In and Out Original Car Wash

Acre Lane, SW2

18

AVS Hand Car Wash

Southampton Way, SW5


1. Herne Hill Car Wash Location:

Herne Hill, SE24

Site:

Former petrol station

Adaptations:

Signage only

Signage:

3 posters, 1 pole sign, 1 logo sign


2. Jamm Car Wash Location:

Brixton Road, SW9

Site:

Forecourt of pub

Adaptations:

Erection of gazebo, fenced enclosure, signage

Signage:

1 banner, 1 flag, 1 menu, 2 logo signs, 1 inflatable


3. London Valeting Centre Location:

Coldharbour Lane, SW9

Site:

Forecourt of housing block

Adaptations:

Erection of gazebo, fenced enclosure, signage

Signage:

2 posters, 2 billboards, 1 pole sign, 3 directional signs, 1 pavement sign


4. Soapy Moo‘s Car Wash Location:

Herne Hill Road, SE24

Site:

Railway arches

Adaptations:

Lean-to structure to accommodate offices, signage

Signage:

1 A-board, 1 banner, 3 posters, 2 directional signs, 1 logo sign


5. Mo-Town Hand Car Wash Location:

Loughborough Junction, SW9

Site:

Yard of industrial building

Adaptations:

Signage only

Signage:

1 A-board, 2 banners, 2 posters, 1 projecting sign


6. Grange Hand Car Wash Location:

Grange Road, SE1

Site:

Existing industrial building

Adaptations:

Signage

Signage:

2 A-boards, 2 banners, 1 poster, 2 projecting signs, 1 logo sign


7. Shine Peckham Hand Car Wash Location:

Copeland Road, SE15

Site:

Existing purpose-built garage

Adaptations:

Signage only

Signage:

1 A-board, 1 logo sign


8. Magic Hand Car Wash Location:

Bedford Road, SW4

Site:

Yard between church and retail units

Adaptations:

Corrugated steel roof structure, signage

Signage:

4 A-boards, 1 poster, 3 billboards


9. Newington Hand Car Wash Location:

Newington Causeway, SE1

Site:

Existing industrial building

Adaptations:

Signage only

Signage:

1 A-board, 1 banner, 1 poster


Front 1. Herne Hill Car Wash Herne Hill, SE24

2. Jamm Car Wash Brixton Road, SW9

3. London Valeting Centre Coldharbour Lane, SW9

4. Soapy Moo’s Car Wash Herne Hill Road, SE24

5. Mo-Town Hand Car Wash Loughborough Junction, SW9

6. Grange Hand Car Wash Grange Road, SE1

7. Shine Peckham Hand Car Wash Copeland Road, SE15

8. Magic Hand Car Wash Bedford Road, SW4

9. Newington Hand Car Wash Newington Causeway, SE1

Interior

Detail


Front 10. Borough Road Hand Car Wash Borough Road, SE1

11. Fyco Hand Car Wash Leake Street, SE1

12. Peckham Road Hand Car Wash Peckham Road, SE15

13. Super Continental Hand Car Wash Parkhouse Road, SE5

14. Shorncliffe Road Hand Car Wash Shorncliffe Road, SE1

15. Diamond Hand Car Wash Ferndale Road, SW9

16. King’s Avenue Hand Car Wash King’s Avenue, SW4

17. The In & Out Original Car Wash Acre Lane, SW2

18. AVS Hand Car Wash Southampton Way, SW5

Interior

Detail


10. Borough Hand Car Wash Location:

Borough Road, SE1

Site:

Existing industrial building

Adaptations:

Signage only

Signage:

2 A-boards, 2 posters, 1 billboard, 1 directional signs, 1 swinger sign


11. Fyco Hand Car Wash Location:

Leake Street, SE1

Site:

Railway arches

Adaptations:

Signage only

Signage:

1 banner, 6 posters, 1 directional sign, 1 logo sign, 1 illuminating sign


12. Peckham Road Hand Car Wash Location:

Peckham Road, SE15

Site:

Existing industrial building

Adaptations:

Signage only

Signage:

4 A-boards, 7 banners, 1 billboard, 3 directional signs


13. Super Continental Hand Car Wash Location:

Parkhouse Street, SE5

Site:

Existing industrial building

Adaptations:

Signage only

Signage:

1 banner, 4 posters, 2 billboards, 2 directional signs


14. Shorncliffe Road Car Wash Location:

Shorncliffe Road, SE1

Site:

Vacant corner site

Adaptations:

Erection of gazebo, signage

Signage:

1 A-board, 2 banners, 3 posters, 1 pole sign


15. Diamond Hand Car Wash Location:

Ferndale Road, SW9

Site:

Railway arches

Adaptations:

Purpose-made roof structure, signage

Signage:

3 A-boards, 5 directional signs, 1 menu, 1 pavement sign


16. King‘s Avenue Hand Car Wash Location:

King‘s Avenue, SW4

Site:

Forecourt of industrial site

Adaptations:

Erection of gazebo, signage

Signage:

2 A-boards, 2 posters, 1 directional sign, 1 menu, 1 logo sign


17. The In & Out Original Car Wash Location:

Acre Lane, SW2

Site:

Forecourt of vacant industrial site

Adaptations:

Portable cabins and gazebo, signage

Signage:

1 A-board, 2 banners, 1 pole sign, 2 directional signs, 1 menu, 1 logo sign


18. AVS Hand Car Wash Location:

Southampton Way, SW5

Site:

Parking lot

Adaptations:

Erection of gazebo, signage

Signage:

1 A-board, 1 banner, 2 posters, 4 billboards, 1 pavement sign


Signage taxonomy Pavement Signs Traffic cone banner Post and panel Swinger A-Board Inflatable air dancer

Wall-mounted signs Projecting sign Poster Banner Billboard

Other signs Dual post Single post Roof mounted Directional block Flag


UCL Cities Methodologies October 2014 Text and drawings by CarverHaggard Photographs by Matt Clayton

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Hand Car Wash  

A guide to 18 different Hand Car Wash sites in South London in 2013, using a combination of drawing and photography.

Hand Car Wash  

A guide to 18 different Hand Car Wash sites in South London in 2013, using a combination of drawing and photography.