As part of this week's London Architecture Biennale celebrations the AJ invited Ken Shuttleworth, SOM, Zaha Hadid, Foreign Office Architects and Will Alsop to take part in a one-day charette on the future of Smithfield meat market, a Victorian complex of buildings designed by Sir Horace Jones, the architect of Tower Bridge. Working with small groups of students, each of the five architects developed proposals to ensure a viable future for the last historic market in the Square Mile. Construction consultant Jackson Coles sponsored the event. An expert panel of architect-turned-developer Roger Zogolovitch, head of the LSE Cities Programme and GLA advisor Ricky Burdett and Smithfield-based engineer Alan Baxter assessed the results.
MAKE MAKE: KEN SHUTTLEWORTH STUDENTS: TOM GARDNER, HUI HUI TEOH, PAUL GRINDLEY, EMIEL KOOLE The group led by Ken Shuttleworth of Make suggested the creation of a new connection from Farringdon Station to Smithfield, and the intensification of activity around the market area.The proposal maintains the two listed Horace Jones halls and replaces the rest of the market with new-build structures to create a 'a really tough diagram'which could be used for a variety of purposes.
The existing ramped helical carpark would be redeveloped as a space for pedestrians rather than cars - a new public space giving access to the undercroft to the market which would be developed as retail space.
SOM SOM: LARRY OLTMANNS, MICHEL MOSSESSIAN, FRANCOIS CHAMBAUD, CHRISTOPHER HARVEY STUDENTS: PHIL VEALL, ELVIN CHATERGON, PETER STAUB, MELANIE WILLIAMS Larry Oltmanns of SOM announced that his team had 'taken it as our mission to reconnect'a part of the city which has been ripped apart by the railway and road engineering of the 19th century. Its solution was to design a 100-storey tower to accommodate sufficient office space to act as an economic driver for the redevelopment of the market area as a multi-tiered public space which emphasises connections and routes and continues through to a new public garden built over the railway lines.Different areas could be used to accommodate activities such as markets, festivals and performances, with the changes in level allowing for physical separation but visual connection between each separate event.
Despite being represented by a scale rule, the tower is not shown to scale.
ZAHA HADID ARCHITECTS ZAHA HADID ARCHITECTS: ZAHA HADID, JIM HEVERIN, CHRISTOS PASSAS, MICHAEL WOLFSON STUDENTS: EVA-CHLOE VAZAKA, MAX KETTENACKER, STEVE CHILTON, GEMMA DOUGLAS, MELLIS HAWARD Zaha Hadid's group sought to build on the area's unique character and the various activities which take place at different times of day, from late night clubbing, to the early morning activity of the market, to the more conventional hours of the office workers.The proposal establishes a route which would wend its way in and out of the historic buildings, meandering above and below ground, providing services which would reinforce the area's 24 hour activity - bars, restaurants and cheap accommodation targeted at clubbers and students.Conceived as a framework rather than a megastructure, the idea is to encourage piecemeal development over time. 'In London there is tremendous conservatism about not touching anything, so it makes sense to concentrate new energy on a very condensed area, 'Hadid explained.
FOREIGN OFFICE ARCHITECTS FOA: FARSHID MOUSSAVI, ALEJANDRO ZAERA-POLO, FRIEDRICH LUDEWIG, CHRIS YOO, STEFAN HOERNER STUDENTS: ROBERT SMALL, SIAN PATTERSON, RALPH PARKER, MAGNUS MENZEFRICKE-KOITZ, JOE BONIFACE The team led by Foreign Office Architects (FOA) opted to introduce only 'very small interventions to the 'sensible and efficient'market buildings which were deemed appropriate for a wide variety of uses.This low-rise development would be offset by highdensity development in the form of a tower. With a 10,000m 2footprint, the tower could accommodate activities from retail to commerce to leisure, creating 'almost a mini-city'. The legs of the tower would 'grow'out from behind the facades of the historic buildings, a move which FOA's Alejandro Zaera-Polo optimistically asserted would 'keep everybody happy'.
ALSOP ARCHITECTS ALSOP ARCHITECTS: WILL ALSOP, SEAN MURRAY, GEORGE WADE STUDENTS: TESSA BAIRD, SAM DAWKINS, FRANCIS FAWCETT, SARAH MACKIE, LEFKOS KYRIACOU Will Alsop's team, which kicked off the day with a leisurely breakfast at Smiths' restaurant, was inspired not only by the market itself but by the close proximity of St Bart's and the London Hospital.The proposal suggests leaving the market as it is at ground level but populating the space above 6m high with various hovering structures 'with the complexity of a Piranesi drawing'.This would house facilities relating to education and, crucially, healthcare - an antidote to conventional deep plan hospital space.
'You can lie in your sick bed watching people buy healthy food, ' said Alsop.'You might even stand half a chance of getting better food in the hospital.'