Max Thompson’s article on Smithfield (AJ 01.11.07) confronts us with the same old problem of inner-city development. English Heritage’s desire to save a bit of 19th-century building, though not specially worthy, at least offers a more humane vision of street life. The main image you published shows a restored market offering a finergrained people-orientated street experience that’s hard to imagine with the KPF scheme.
And it’s hard to see how a ‘megastructural’ scheme will do much to improve quality of life along Farringdon Road, in an area already brutalised by poorly scaled architecture.
What should be avoided at all costs at Smithfield is a repeat of the example of Spitalfields in east London – grossly scaled and heavy-handed architecture that will be a magnet for coffee chains. If a megastructure is to be built, then that is what will happen.
Andrew Daws, partner, CZWG Architects