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Piercy & Co's plans for Camden Lock Market approved

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Piercy & Company has won planning permission to open up, extend and refurbish the famous Camden Lock Market in north London.

The masterplan features new routes and bridges through the canal-side site and allow public access for the first time into the East Vaults and Dead Dog’s Basin under the Grade II listed Interchange Warehouse Building.

The £25million scheme was approved last week by Camden Council.

Backed by billionaire Teddy Sagi’s Market Tech Holdings, the scheme (11,150m²) will overhaul both the indoor and outdoor markets, create a new metal-clad food hall and provide new workspace as well as a venue for live entertainment.

An earlier scheme by John McAslan & Partners for Urban Market Company was shelved after the site was snapped up by Market Tech Holdings in late 2014. The company, which has been steadily buying up plots around Camden, picked Piercy&Company to oversee the Lock Market project in December 2014 following an invited design competition.

Stuart Piercy, founding director of Piercy & Company, said: ‘Working with the existing context and historic market photography, we evolved a language and form that is both sensitive to the historic fabric and relevant to the way that the market wants to work in the future.

‘Countless study models were built to explore how the spaces between the buildings can be manipulated to retain the theatre of the markets while making the spaces accessible to all.’

The practice has now begun working on the detailed design.

Piercy & Co's plans for Camden Lock Market

Piercy & Co’s plans for Camden Lock Market


Martin Sagar, Sheppard Robson

Martin Sagar, partner at Sheppard Robson and vice-chairman of Camden Town Unlimited

Camden has always been something of a base for rebellion and mischief. The vaults which lie under much of the market were used to store horses and gin, and many of its larger buildings – our own office included – were built to accommodate musical instrument makers, establishing a tradition of live music which remains with us. 

The two markets which form the core of Camden’s identity were until recently under different ownerships which – while reflecting the fractured patterns of Camden’s fabric – could not last forever. It seems to me that the new designs for this pivotal site are  coherent and thoughtful, harnessing the advantages of the market’s now single ownership structure. 

The scheme has opened up the canal edge to  what was the basement of the Camden lock building and made a strong urban event out of the insertion of the new market hall. Camden is almost unique in central London in that it has very deep plots relative to its apparently modest street frontage. This scheme has made the most of the c consequent opportunity of creating covered outdoor space as a focus for restaurant and a range of leisure uses. 

The architect has suggested a  different theme for each of its areas of study, which, to me, represents a sensitive approach to the project. The way in which Piercy & Co has opened up some of the East Vaults without losing the mystery of the spaces seems particularly appealing. It is a deft and sensitive series of moves  which could bring the market into a new era.

Piercy & Co's plans for Camden Lock Market

Piercy & Co’s plans for Camden Lock Market

Study models



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