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Venice preview: Gort Scott

Thames to Tooting

Gort Scott architects is exhibiting drawings from on-going research related to london’s high streets, which will be shown alongside a short film by robert McKillop about renzo piano’s Shard.

The exhibit is intended to reflect upon two different attitudes to planning in london. The Shard’s significant visual impact as a backdrop to the city is contrasted with the urbanism of the arterial high road, which to many is so mundane as to be almost invisible.

Our drawings, Thames to Tooting: Urban Block and the arterial london High Street, expand upon research i initially did as part of the aJ/rpS Urban Design Scholarships programme (aJ 14.05.09) which proposed a new understanding of london’s urbanism - one focused not on centres, but on routes. This linearity isn’t the american ‘strip’, and it’s not a Modernist streak of speed and movement. it’s a low-key, disorderly linearity that is particular to the way london has evolved.

The drawings capture a moment in time. They show urban blocks along a long, arterial high road that runs from london Bridge, past The Shard, through Borough, Kennington, oval, Clapham, Balham, Tooting and out of london. it follows the route of a roman road and it encompasses many high streets along its length.

roads like these are part of a large network of high streets that are the life-blood of the capital city today. They have an extraordinary depth and variety of form and use, which supports more than half of london’s jobs.

The drawings look to harness a current mood for a renewed recognition of the importance of our high streets, a mood prompted by riots and recession. From this flows an attitude to london’s urbanism at a strategic level, about how investment and resources might be distributed.

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