East where appointed by British Land to provide public realm landscape design for a redevelopment within a historically rich conservation area in Shoreditch as part of a design team including AHMM, Stanton Williams, Duggan Morris Architects, DSDHA, ARUP, AKT II and Atelier Ten.
The project is sited in a complex, fine-grained area between two major high roads, a railway line and Spitalfields Market, containing a collection of historic industrial buildings adjacent to an area of Georgian houses. The existing streetscape is formed of cobbled streets containing a diverse and varied collecting of objects, materials and spaces that have accumulated over time. East’s approach was to join-in with this evolution – adding a new layer to the public realm that would increase access and permeability while maintaining the areas richness and character.
The site is made of a big interior composed of narrow streets and small yards within blocks, with a clear interface to The City to the west and a number of legible entrances around the areas edges. The public realm proposals strengthen this sense of interior by reinforcing entrances and thresholds to the block and adding new yards, passages and gardens to the collection of spaces.
The overall material strategy for the project is based on enhancing the existing fine-grained texture of the existing place with granite setts, platforms and mats of smoother ground that enable outdoor seating. On top of this ground a suite of objects and insets are added including wayfinding disks and plates that reference the historic markers of the Liberty of Norton Folgate existing on the site, alongside special furniture elements that enable seating and events. These elements are designed to engage in both the industrial and residential heritages of the site, and are conceived as a collection of new curiosities that add to the existing collection of bollards, gates and industrial fragments existing in the area.
A key aspect of the project was to maximise the potential of the relatively limited public realm to enable new planting and biodiversity using pots for plants and trees, moss planting and staking smaller-scale planting in vertical frames.
Location: Tower Hamlets
Client: British Land
Project status: Ongoing