The London Festival of Architecture (LFA) has unveiled the six shortlisted proposals in its contest to rethink a triangular public space outside London Bridge Station
The finalist schemes – drawn up by CAN with Eddie Blake, Charles Holland Architects, M2R arquitectos, make:good, S’il Te Plait Group, and White Red Architects – were revealed at a special LFA event with the architects last night (26 June).
Open to architects, designers and artists, the competition sought innovative proposals for a £23,000 installation intended to improve the streetscape and assist wayfinding for visitors arriving in the area from the station, which recently received a £1 billion overhaul by Grimshaw, Arcadis WSP JV and Costain.
The project, backed by Team London Bridge, aims to transform the ‘busy but unremarkable’ plot on Tooley Street into a space where pedestrians can reorientate themselves around the area’s many landmarks, including the riverside, City Hall, Southwark Cathedral and Borough Market.
London Festival of Architecture director Tamsie Thomson said: ‘One thing is for certain – the days of the Tooley Street triangle as one of London’s most boring public spaces are numbered. These exciting proposals showcase exceptional architecture and design talent, and offer a glimpse into how the area may be transformed to benefit the millions of people that pass through every year.’
Team London Bridge executive director Nadia Broccardo said: ‘All other entrances to the new London Bridge Station have been dramatically redesigned in recent years, but this rather unloved public space has remained until now. We are thrilled that one of these striking designs will welcome tens of thousands of people to the area every week and help draw people to our stunning riverside.’
London Bridge Station is one of the oldest railway stations in the world and handles around 50 million passengers every year. The ancient area surrounding the station is extremely densely developed with a mix of new and old buildings, which can make first arrivals and wayfinding confusing.
The competition aims to deliver a lasting legacy for the area, upgrading the surrounding streetscape as well as overcoming some of London Bridge’s wayfinding challenges.
The call for submissions was the third to be launched by the LFA this year, which announced a contest for a series of public benches in the City of London in March and for a temporary pavilion outside the Dulwich Picture Gallery in February.
Judges for the London Bridge Triangle include Thomson, Jack Skillen from Team London Bridge, dRMM director Jonas Lencer, and Southwark Council head of highways Matthew Hill. An overall winner will be revealed in July.
CAN with Eddie Blake
Shortlisted: CAN with Eddie Blake
The Tooley Street Triangle site is an opportunity to knit back together some of the disparate elements of the area. The sketch proposal addresses Victorian arches, the 1960s concrete overpass, the hospital and the river, just out of sight. The design keeps the pavement clear for pedestrian flow, while offering rain protection and introducing a way-finding gesture at first storey. Using chain mail, the design allows daylight through while providing a visual clue to the route beyond. A large LED scrolling display is hidden behind the chain mail and revealed when lit up with messages welcoming people to the area, with a large digital clock giving a civic focus to the space. It is a piece of public realm infrastructure which aims to enhance ones ability and desire to walk through or even stop at this site.
Charles Holland Architects
Shortlisted: Charles Holland Architects
Our initial proposal responds to the brief in two ways. Firstly, it responds to the idea of way-finding and orientation by proposing a scaled map of the immediate area on the ground plane. Secondly, we propose an object placed on the map that is part beacon and part street furniture. In this particular context the object responds to the triangular nature of the site but we have also conceived it as part of a family of objects that could be used on other sites.
Shortlisted: M2R arquitectos
Simply because we believe we can make Tooley Street a beautiful and meaningful place. We have three main ideas for Tooley street. First, to make it Memorable. Second, to make it Attractive. Third, to make it Social.
Our proposition is to create a secular steel frame folly which people walk under or stop around as a way of directing people, as well as providing an opportunity to grow plants up the structure to improve air quality. The upper structure would be cut sheet or mesh steel depictions of the area’s landmarks that are agreed, prioritised and co-designed with local people and stakeholders using workshops and pop ups on site.
S’il Te Plait Group
Shortlisted: S’il Te Plait Group
Way More London is a proposal to enhance the understanding of the London Bridge area for lost commuters. The project is made of signage pointing to the main attractive places surrounding the area. Beyond simply showing the way to reach the various places, the intention is to highlight a sense of place.
White Red Architects
Shortlisted: White Red Architects
The Zoetrope is a Georgian animation device reflecting the ceaseless motion of the modern city and its landmarks. From the street level and the bridge above the pavilion reveals the identity and diversity of London Bridge, day and night, through an intricate tiled floor reflected in sloping mirrored walls creating a sense of intrigue to passers by. During the approach the visitor views an image of the landmark directly ahead reflected from the floor. Within the pavilion more detailed instructions can be found on the walls and floor. Use of pictures and arrows make it easy use without needing to speak English.