Weston Williamson + Partners’ reworking of controversial designs for a new station entrance in the middle of Old Street roundabout have been granted planning approval
Earlier this week, Islington councillors voted in favour of Transport for London’s revised plans for a new main entrance to Old Street underground station which would provide stepped access to St Agnes Well.
The glass structure with a sloping green roof replaces unpopular plans put forward by WSP and Morgan Sindall for a bank of tiered ‘giant steps’ designed as a meeting place.
The bank of seating, which was supposed to double up as a venue for ad-hoc performances, was inspired by subway entrances in Boston, Massachusetts and the TKTS Booth in New York’s Times Square.
But Islington’s design review panel was unconvinced, arguing Old Street’s ‘poor vista’ meant it would be unlikely to be as popular as the step seats in New York, which it noted had ‘a very different context’.
The WSP proposal also faced criticism from planning officers and the Metropolitan Police, who said the stairs would encourage anti-social behaviour and warned that people could drop or throw items from the top of the balustrade.
Weston Williamson’s station entrance is a predominantly glazed structure supported by a centralised concrete frame and with a green sloping roof.
Old Street Roundabout proposals by WSP and Morgan Sindall
As its lowest point, the roof would face Tonkin Liu’s Promenade of Light, a row of trees lining Old Street heading west.
The new station entrance is part of wider proposals for the radical overhaul of Old Street Roundabout which involve turning the gyratory into a peninsula.
Under the proposals, all existing subway entrances to the station will be demolished and replaced with a landmark entrance in the centre of the peninsula. A separate new station entrance on Cowper Street won planning in 2016 and is currently on site.
In addition to the wider overhaul, Islington Council is also running a separate design competition for a £1 million ‘iconic gateway’ on the roundabout.
The winning schemes – drawn up by Dar, Gpad London, Nicholas Hare Architects and EPR Architects – were chosen from a longlist of 39 submissions in May 2018.
However, since then the local authority has not put forward a procurement route or timeline for the project.
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