8 architecture firms announced to design London’s first purpose-built design district

  September 29, 2017 - 14:40   227     Submitted by WA Contents

Eight strong architecture firms have been announced to design London's first Design District at the heart of Greenwich Peninsula in London. 6a Architects, Mole, Architecture 00, Barrozi Veiga, SelgasCano, Assemblage, Adam Khan Architects and David Kohn Architects will design 16 different buildings housing 1,800 studios for the creative industries for the community of London.  

While eight architecture firms creating different building typologies in the district, landscape architects Schulze+Grassov will design the public spaces of the Design District. 

The project is developed as part of a large Greenwich Peninsula scheme where Santiago Calatrava’s Transport Hub and SOM’s Upper Riverside Complex are taking place - the overall redevelopment plans are developed by Knight Dragon to create a big and new cultural destination in London.

Covering a total of 1-hectare (10,000-square-metre) site, the project will be a new creative centre and permanent new home for exchange of ideas. The centre will be open to everyone, with an eclectic ecosystem of ambitious start-ups, entrepreneurs and creatives.

The project aims to bring together design, art, tech, food, craft and music industries into a one place by offering affordable rented houses and flexible spaces. 

"Clean desk space, dirty workshops, collaborative areas. Car-free winding lanes filled with the buzz of activity. Visitors can stop by the market hall, play rooftop basketball and experience workshops that double as exhibition space and shops. A place for meeting and making, for surprise encounters and happy accidents," said the organisation in a project description.

According to Knight Dragon, studio rents will start from £25 per square foot and workshop space will be rented from £10 per square foot. The plans are designed in a variety of colors and forms that trigger openness, interaction and transparency.

"Eight award-winning architects were each given a 'sugar cube' to design. Inspired by old photographs and construction sites, dinner tables and the diversity of Londoners, their outcomes resulted in a riot of unexpected contrasts and of architectural anarchy," said the organisation.

For example, the Market Hall, designed by SelgasCano, proposes a caterpillar-shaped metal structure that shines at night to become a focal point for the neighbourhood. 

Stalls on the ground floor serve food from around the world, while people eat upstairs in amongst the treetops. The second building of their pair has a winter garden, so people can enter their working space through the calm of the foliage.

Ground floors will be open workshops providing a glimpse of creative processes. People will be able to see the artists and their works through a beautifully-shaped picture windows. The building will provide a rare insight into artists’ lives, which is percepted from the street as an exhilarating, glorious mess.

The experimental space of the Design District lends itself to events. Flexible street-facing space to host pop-up galleries, sining clubs and guest chefs in the market hall. Performance art and installations will be displayed in the main square. After-parties from the neighbouring NOW Gallery - with artists, makers, guests and passersby mingling.

The plans also include a play basketball area - as seen in the first image - on the rooftop court, which will be open to the public at any time, all year round. This playful addition to the skyline doubles as a venue for film screenings and events. With views over the market hall and main square, and glimpses of the river wrapping the rest of the Peninsula.

Greenwich Peninsula is one of the most large-scaled regeneration plans of London, which has been continuing for 20 years. The Design District is the latest part of this redevelopment and will be concluded in single stage. Knight Dragon is planning to open spaces its first tenants by early 2020.

All images courtesy of Design District

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