nla news

Public space and NLA exhibition unveiled at The Leadenhall Building - 18/8/2014


Agnese Sanvito
British Land and Oxford Properties have today opened the new public space at the base of The Leadenhall Building in the City of London, unveiling an exhibition in collaboration with New London Architecture which chronicles the construction of the building. 

Free to access and open until spring 2015, the NLA exhibition examines the vision behind the building and the cutting-edge construction techniques of London’s latest landmark. 

The exhibition is open in The Leadenhall Building public space from today.

www.theleadenhallbuildingexhibition.com

Address: The Leadenhall Building, 122 Leadenhall Street, London. EC3

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Olympic Park tours - 12/8/2014


Agnese Sanvito
With the legacy project of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park well underway and more and more of London Legacy Development Corporation's (LLDC) forthcoming plans coming into the public domain, it was timely for a tour of the whole site led by LLDC themselves.

During the first half of 2014, the south of the park reopened, including the system of waterways; the ArcelorMittal Orbit has fast become one of the city’s tourist attractions; and the park has already had over three million visitors. The VeloPark has opened to the public, as have the hockey and tennis centres. The London Aquatics Centre has quickly become a busy local swimming pool, reopening its doors in March.

But walking the full length of the park along the River Lea, the multiplicity and scale of this regeneration project is staggering. Five new neighbourhoods, including three new schools, commercial hubs, and with the new Olympicopolis initiative, a new culture and education quarter. 'We need to balance consumerism with culture,' said LLDC chief of design Kathryn Firth, referring to the Westfield shopping mall which predates the legacy project. Taking inspiration from London's great estates, LLDC intends to create a rich urban fabric closely integrated with the surrounding neighbourhoods.

The surroundings permeate the park physically with a complex infrastructure that is in a state of flux. There is mediation between levels, a system of bridges (currently 35, but there will be more) over renovated canals, roads, train lines and walkways. The infrastructure has adapted to meet the needs to its users, and bridges which were temporary have been made permanent.

This relationship between Games Mode and Legacy Mode means that the temporary interweaves with the permanent throughout. This is the nature of the landscape surrounding Hackney Wick, which has Europe's densest concentration of artists living and working in one area. This has filtered into the very bones of the park, with products developed in surrounding areas being used in the construction.

The local needs to relate to the international in a swift swoop as Fish Island comes face to face with Here East. A new hub for creative and digital industries, designed by HawkinsBrown, is already home to BT Sport.  The gantry on the south facing elevation will be a 'cabinet of curiosities,' creating adaptable spaces for pop-up uses, encouraging new businesses to take up space and linking to the many meanwhile uses over the water.

The personality of Hackney Wick informs that of the proposed International Quarter. The vision for the park is community-driven, the fringe projects integral to the success of the central areas. It is, as Firth puts it, 'A pebble in the pond working in reverse'. The excitement of what is possible in the park can be felt as you move around, something LLDC have managed to retain from the Olympics. 

By Lucie Murray, Programme Co-ordinator, NLA


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Crossrail: Delivering better public spaces - 23/7/2014


Moorgate  John Robertson Architects
Crossrail will have a transformational regeneration effect on London’s public realm even in places the new rail line does not touch as other areas are forced to ‘up their game’ to keep pace.

That was one of the key points made this morning at the NLA’s breakfast talk ‘Crossrail – delivering better public spaces’, which included presentations from architects involved in designing areas around stations both in inner and outer London.

The observation came from GVA associate Martyn Saunders, presenting some of the findings from a follow-up report to the firm’s original investigation into the uplift Crossrail areas might expect when the line is open in 2018.

Saunders said that Crossrail is much more than ‘an expensive train set for London’ and is already having an effect on the quantum and type of developments coming through along the line. As it becomes more visible, people will ‘start believing in it more.’ But as areas like Whitechapel will be ‘brought back into central London in a much more real way’ through Crossrail helping it to become an attractive place and Hayes and Harlington has become ‘a whole new economic story’, it will also influence places it won’t touch directly. Saunders said a good example of this is the Golden Mile near Hounslow, which has been forced to ‘sit up’, and ‘raise its game’ because of the better transport connections available elsewhere.

Crossrail chief executive Andrew Wolstenholme OBE said that the line is now 55% complete, with 80% of the tunneling finished, and is on time and on budget, ready to open in 2018. Although it has a ‘huge second half to go’ it was a ‘huge one-off opportunity for London’, he said, featuring exciting public realm schemes such as that around Tottenham Court Road by Gillespies. Wolstenholme added that there would be lots of opportunities to transfer the learning on what does and doesn’t work to other projects including Crossrail 2 and HS2.

‘This isn’t a pipe dream’, he said. ‘But it’s not limited to central stations – we’re equally excited about working with local communities in outlying districts.’

Andrew Tindsley, Director of Urbanism, BDP is one who is working on such projects, at public realm schemes around stations at Maryland, Forest Gate, Manor Park and Ilford. ‘Just because these are tiny stations, it doesn’t mean that the challenge is anything less’, he said, adding that funding projects will be difficult, so would be funneled into making small but significant changes. These include measures to improve wayfinding, the creation of new entrances and plazas, the use of better materials, new paving, and surfaces, improving retail forecourts, forging better connections to local shopping centres, as in Ilford, and creating new green areas and markets. ‘We’re trying to use the public realm as a device for new development’, he said.

In the centre, John Robertson of John Robertson Architects detailed his practice’s work at Moorgate and Farringdon, the former involving a huge opportunity for public space in the Moorfields area becoming like a public plaza, and a 88,000 sq ft building of stepped pavilions in green, red, and light green subtle faience. The JRA Farringdon work is based on the extra footfall the area will receive – some 250,000 people will pass through the interchange every day, 62,000 at the morning peak – through a new integrated ticket hall onto Cowcross Street. ‘Our work is about relating to the context of the site’ said Robertson. ‘We were keen to do an urban infill building and create urban repair’.

David Taylor, Editor, New London Quarterly

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Heathrow City - new urban visions - 16/7/2014


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Rick Mather ArchitectsHawkinsBrownMaccreanor Lavington
The three architects commissioned to come up with proposals for Heathrow City – the space created if the airport were to move east – were at the NLA this morning to outline their visions.

Gavin Miller, Partner, Rick Mather Architects, Darryl Chen, Partner, HawkinsBrown and Gerard Maccreanor, Director, Maccreanor Lavington talked through their schemes following an introduction to the topic by Richard Blakeway, Deputy Mayor for Housing, Land & Property, GLA.

Heathrow, said Blakeway, was ‘an accident in history’, that had a long history of public objections to its creation or indeed its expansion. But it was ‘set up by a government willing to be interventionist and ruthless in its objectives’ – perhaps there were lessons for London today, he suggested. Moving the airport to a new site in the estuary could also help make a considerable impact on London’s housing deficit crisis. Blakeway said that the Heathrow site is around the same size as Kensington and Chelsea and could provide 150,000 homes for 300,000 residents, whereas the 38 Opportunity Areas across the whole of London are projected to provide 300,000.

RMA’s proposal gives the opportunity to stitch Heathrow and its landscape back into its immediate context and wider London, said Miller. The scheme uses the former runways to define the structure of this ‘city’, connecting 10 different character areas with linear parks, terminal buildings redeveloped and meanwhile’ uses to aid the transition from airport to new piece of city.

Chen said the HawkinsBrown proposition was all about three big ideas required by a big site, and the ‘romance of the sky’.  These focused on creating UK’s first airship port to bring a boost to the way freight is distributed in the UK; a factory for homes, with 17% of the houses available to be delivered by self-builders, ‘putting power back into the hands of the people’, and ‘a green belt in the green belt’ – a continuous 9km long linear strip of green space at the centre of the site.

And finally, Maccreanor said his practice’s ‘liveable landscape’ ideas were about creating ‘a mixed use city within the city’, boosted by new rail infrastructure, including a new technology campus, civic centre and international conference centre, based on transforming what is an ‘ecologically inert landscape’ through bioremediation and forest planting. The Davies report on aviation is expected to make its recommendations in September.

A free exhibition of the proposals is on display at NLA until 9 August.

Visit www.heathrow-city.com for further detail on the proposals.
#HeathrowCity   

David Taylor, Editor, New London Quarterly 

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New London Awards 2014 honour Roger Madelin and key schemes in regeneration, housing and public spaces - 10/7/2014


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Peter Murray  -  Agnese Sanvito Agnese Sanvito
•   Argent’s joint CEO Roger Madelin named ʻNew Londoner of the Yearʼ

•    King’s Cross Central masterplan wins top ʻOverall Winnerʼ award

•    19 winners announced across 15 categories representing all sectors of the built environment, including built and unbuilt projects from education to healthcare; office buildings to homes, and the temporary to civic, culture & sport.

NLA today honoured the capitalʼs very best architecture, planning and development as they announced the winners of the New London Awards at a lunchtime ceremony at the Guildhall in the City. 


The New London Awards celebrate the best schemes in the capital, both built and on the drawing board, temporary and permanent – giving recognition to the impact projects have on their surroundings and their contribution to London as well as to their architectural quality.

King's Cross Central, by Allies and Morrison & Porphyrios Associates for King’s Cross Central Limited Partnership, was awarded the prestigious ‘Overall Winner’ accolade: deemed by the judges to be succeeding in forging a new unique character and sense of place whilst utilising the area's rich industrial heritage. King's Cross Central's win was symptomatic of an overall theme this year - a push to sensitively revitalise a historic environment [such as the Old Vinyl Factory site, and Battersea Power Station]. Record numbers of entries were submitted to the Conservation & Retrofit category, showing a real appetite for this area. 


NLA Chairman and Chair of the jury Peter Murray, announcing the awards to some 680 guests at NLAʼs sell-out Annual Lunch, said: I like to think that the Awards celebrate the best in the capital whether winners or not but our international jury was particularly impressed by the no-nonsense approach adopted by the project teams responsible for Hayes Primary School and Tybalds Estate Regeneration. Amid a period when design in education is facing myriad pressures, not the least of them political, we are seeing perhaps the last vestiges of the good design that comes from proper education building funding. Likewise, in these straitened times, the imperative to conserve what you’ve got rather than spend on the new is a logical and sustainable one, exemplified by the sensitive regeneration of Tybalds Estate.”

There was acclaim, too, for Roger Madelin CBE, joint chief executive of Argent, who scooped the ‘New Londoner of the Year’ award in recognition of his role in the ambitious King's Cross Central scheme – the largest regeneration project in Europe, widely considered a resounding success. With many elements completed, London is looking to the example set by this development, a lesson in creating a robust dialogue between a site's new and historic buildings that is key for our developing capital.

Across the Awards, a total of 33 prizes were handed out in 15 categories – 19 winners, one special award and 13 commendations. These were selected from over 320 built and unbuilt entries that together demonstrate the quality and innovation evident in projects being delivered across the capital, with 23 of London’s 33 boroughs featured on the shortlist.

Winners range from the 'A-list favourite' Chiltern Firehouse, to homes created in difficult infill sites, supporting the densification of the city, such as The Junction by Autor Architecture for Sunny Popat, Number 23 by MATT architecture LLP, and Mint Street in Bethnal Green by Pitman Tozer Architects for Peabody. The rewards of the 2012 Games are evident, with three schemes awarded, including the newly opened Tumbling Bay Play and Timber Lodge, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park by erect architecture & LUC for LLDC, further proving the eficacy of the legacy.

Entries were once again judged by a panel of international experts in the fields of architecture and urban design, lending the process an objective view. The panel included David J Burney, Commissioner of New York Cityʼs Department of Design and Construction; Dominique Alba, Director of the Urban Planning Agency in Paris (APUR); Monica von Schmalensee, CEO/ VD, Partner of Swedish architectural firm White, and Riccardo Marini, City Design Leader of Edinburgh City Council and Senior Consultant for Gehl Architects in Copenhagen.

All shortlisted and winning projects will be on show in the NLA galleries at The Building Centre in central London in a year-round exhibition from August 2014 and are featured in a special publication available now.

The New London Awards 2014 are supported by the Mayor of London and sponsored by Broadgate Estates, The Cadogan Estate, Indigo Public Affairs, Luxonic Lighting, Pipers Design, Turley and Urban Space Management.

Photos of the event can be found here. Please credit Agnese Sanvito.

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NLA on Location: Tower Hamlets and Canary Wharf - 9/7/2014


nla_on_location_tower_hamlets_and_canary_wharf
Tower Hamlets and Canary Wharf are wrestling with the challenges of providing some of London’s biggest areas of housing growth – and enough infrastructure to cope with it.


A special NLA On Location conference held at One Canada Square last week was kicked off by LB Tower Hamlets’ director of development and renewal Aman Dalvi OBE, who said that the area is a ‘huge tale of two places’. On the one hand it was a hub of banking activity, with ‘enormous’ footfall in the new shopping centres, but on the other, Aspen Way divides Canary Wharf from the rest of the community, which figures in many league tables of deprivation. London mayor Boris Johnson expects the area to produce the highest amount of housing in London, said Dalvi, and the borough is getting the highest amount of New Homes Bonus in the country, despite being the smallest borough in London.
That activity was re-emphasised by David Williams, Deputy Service Head Planning & Building Control, LB Tower Hamlets, who said that one of the reasons was that, despite being only 8 square miles in size, Tower Hamlets has a population of 256,000 that is projected to swell to 330,000 inside the next 10 years. ‘Our projected growth might look like a town the size of Colchester’, he said, revealing that 1/10th of London’s housing target lies in 1.3% of its area and that Tower Hamlets received more large-scale applications than most other boroughs in London.

For Michael Bell, Strategic Planning Manager, LB Tower Hamlets, the borough very much embraced the growth agenda the mayor has set out for it ‘but we want to do it on our terms’. Much of this is in the Opportunity Areas to the east and in the Lower Lea Valley, while other schemes include the ‘fantastic opportunity’ at Bishopsgate Goods Yard, the last major development site in the City Fringe, with its plans for a High Line-like open space on the arches and high density residential component. But Bell admitted the authority had been ‘a little bit taken by surprise’ at the amount of development coming forward including the 60 storey City Pride tower, which has stimulated other applications that would lift densities above those of New York, Hong Kong and Singapore, but also raised fears about supporting infrastructure in order to maintain sustainable places.

Justin Carr, Strategic Planning Manager, GLA said that growth identified in the mayor’s post Olympics vision document was toward a 10 million ‘mega-city’ with 38 opportunity areas supporting 300,000 new homes, but that Tower Hamlets was key to delivery of the mayor’s objectives. Measures such as Housing Zones had been conceived to accelerate housing delivery, he added, but at places like the Isle of Dogs – where there are currently six applications and five pre-applications for a total of 6300 homes, the challenge will be in providing enough in the way affordable housing, public realm, and placemaking to maintain balanced communities.

The conference also heard from speakers including Robert Maguire, Project Director – Wood Wharf, Canary Wharf Group who said that beyond the office accommodation, the Wharf had become a place of welcoming public spaces in the tradition of London, with the developer aiming to carry that through into what it is doing at Wood Wharf. Gerard Maccreanor, Founding Director, Maccreanor Lavington Gerard Maccreanor, said that South Quay can be an amazing space ‘to counter those OMG gasps’ at the kinds of densities being proposed, but that perhaps Canary Wharf’s cluster of tall buildings could be given more definition by going taller than One Canada Square. Paul Augarde and David Black spoke about creating a new identity and physical and non-physical regeneration at Poplar HARCA; Eric van der Kleij and Digital Shadows CEO Alastair Paterson about the impact made by the Level39 Technology Accelerator in One Canada Square, and BDP’s Anna Sinnott and Levitt Bernstein’s Jo McCafferty about the visions for Whitechapel and the Ocean Estate in Stepney, respectively. Finally, Herzog & de Meuron associate John O’Mara took the audience through the practice’s 56-storey, cylindrical tower, One Wood Wharf. 

David Taylor, Editor, New London Quarterly



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FITzrovia and Bloomsbury: Store Street Sports Day - 8/7/2014


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Agnese SanvitoAgnese Sanvito
On Saturday 28 June, FitLondon opened to the public with a community sports day. Despite the summer showers, everyone joined in the activity on Store Street South Crescent. There was croquet with Fletcher Priest and ping pong with Ryder Architecture, while NLA chairman Peter Murray led groups on an exploration of local public realm improvements on tokyobikes.

The exhibition, borrowed from the American Institute of Architects in New York, identifies strategies from London and the US that make the built environment more conductive to healthier lifestyles. 

In response to this theme of creating a fitter city, NLA and The Building Centre, in association with Ramboll and RIBA London’s Great Tichfield Street Festival Committee, created an engaging environment, one which invites people to use the space in a variety of ways – illustrating the crescent’s potential as a new public realm in Fitzrovia.

NLA and The Building Centre will continue to activate the space with fitness classes, talks and other events, keep an eye on the NLA website for further details.

Lucie Murray, Programme Coordinator, NLA



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The Human Scale - 4/7/2014


Popcorn and placemaking were the order of the day at the NLA on Tuesday as a select group of invited urban planners and architects discussed how some of the principles espoused in Jan Gehl’s film, ‘The Human Scale’ could apply to London.

The group, which included Riccardo Marini and Helle Søholt from Gehl Architects, Ben Plowden, Director for Planning and Surface Transport at TfL, Crown Estate chief executive Alison Nimmo and Tristram Carfrae, Deputy Chairman at Arup settled down to watch the film and then debate London’s public realm.

The group made a number of points:
·      Clearing clutter can be an effective aid to creating good spaces
·      Effective leadership, vision and bravery – as happened with Bloomberg and Gehl’s work in New York – are key to getting changes implemented
·      London has in fact made great strides in repairing and improving its public realm since 2001 and these should be celebrated more
·      Crossrail is a good opportunity to attend to London’s public realm and reclaim the streets
·      Temporary projects are a useful and cheap way to implement change and signal that development is coming, as with New York’s Broadway
·      Projects like the diagonals on Oxford Street proved to be good for business with nearby retailers
·      It is in the boroughs’ gift to transform their area, creating a better balance between cyclists, pedestrians and motor cars
·      London needs to improve its air quality
·      The city needs to get better at measuring how people use spaces
·      There is scope to use technology more to get the most out of current transport systems
·      Altering the public realm for the better is all about an incremental approach, rather than a grand masterplan

David Taylor, Editor, New London Quarterly 

Participants
Pat Brown, Director, Central
Tristram Carfrae, Deputy Chairman, Arup
Richard Dickinson, Chief Executive, New West End Company
Peter Heath, Design Director – Public Realm, Atkins
Graham King, Head of Strategic Planning and Transportation, Westminster City Council  
Lorraine Landels, Director of Strategic Relationships, Buro Happold
Simon Loomes, Strategic Project Director, Portman Estate
Riccardo Andrea Marini, Senior Consultant, Gehl Architects
Peter Murray, Chairman, NLA
Alison Nimmo, Chief Executive, Crown Estate
Tom Platt, London Manager, Living Streets
Ben Plowden, Director for Planning and Surface Transport, TfL
Tim Rettler, Senior Project Officer-Regeneration, GLA
Helle Søholt, Founding Partner, Gehl Architects
Cllr Vincent Stops, LB Hackney

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Fit London: Designing a healthier city - 3/7/2014


London must do more to create healthier environments if a worrying rise in childhood obesity and a string of adult diseases and disorders can be reversed

That was one of the key findings to emerge from a special half-day conference at the NLA on ‘FIT London – designing a healthier city’ on Tuesday 1 July, which looked at how effective placemaking and the creation of attractive workplaces can contribute to happier people and better environments.

Gehl Architects director Riccardo Marini said the practice was involved in placemaking – ‘about turning a place you don’t want to be in to a place you never want to leave’, helping people ‘re-conquer cities’, and always building on an extensive evidence base. But one of the key problems was the way economics work, said Marini, where we start with buildings and end up often with ‘dysfunctional spaces’. Velocity was a dangerous thing for cities, he went on, and the best environments are those which take on board the human’s average speed. ‘If you design places around the notion of people moving at 5km/h you create de facto healthier spaces’, he said.

People needed ‘invitations’ to cycle or walk more, we need to ‘move away from burning oil to burning calories’, and, as with the work Gehl Architects did so successfully in New York, the creation of temporary projects can be an effective way of bringing about change, ‘sucking life into a space’ overnight. and providing a way to get past the ‘folded arms’ of doubting traffic engineers and others in officialdom.

Yvonne Doyle, director of Public Health England said that the UK doesn’t do at all well in terms of ‘healthy lives’ indicators, with only the US having a worse record. We have been ‘obsessed’ in this country about the NHS, rather than health, need to acknowledge and cope better with the health risks of living in London, but must also take action to try and reverse a worrying rise in childhood obesity, with 37% of children aged 10-11 now obese in the capital. Measures to do this, she said, include better utilising London’s key green spaces – some 38% of land in London is occupied by green space – and ‘reorientate’ the market for healthy food.

Lucy Saunders, Public Health Specialist, GLA said healthy streets are essential to healthy cities, and the GLA uses 10 indicators to judge them, including whether there is clean air, whether they are easy to cross, too noisy, safe, and even whether people feel relaxed. She added that a tool to help quantify and monetize health aspects of transport schemes could help, along with an online tool at www.heatwalkingcycling.org

In terms of specific London areas, Hackney, said the authority’s health legacy programme manager Jane Connor, has devised special planning guidance akin to that in Barking and Dagenham aimed at cutting the proliferation of hot food takeaways and has a healthy urban planning checklist. But vision and political leadership have been key reasons why its cycling policy – Hackney wanted an 80% increase in cycling levels by 2010 – has been such a success, said Connor.

In the private sector, Derwent London is putting healthy policies into action, with development manager Benjamin Lesser explaining how the White Collar Factory project at Old Street will include extensive cycle provision with 276 spaces, storage and showers to respond to the ‘stratospheric’ rise in bike usage in London. The scheme also features a running track on the roof, openable windows, and a programme of signage to encourage people to use the prominent stairs in preference to the lifts.

The conference also heard from LLDC chief of design Kathryn Firth, who detailed the design of the Olympic Park, sports facilities and under-construction Chobham Manor, whose residential blocks encourage people to walk and whose housing all has safe cycle parking integrated. Jordana Malik, meanwhile, director of communications at Renewal, took the audience through the developer’s project to create 2,500 new homes, a hotel, jobs, leisure and sports facilities at the Surrey Canal around Millwall FC. David J Burney, Professor of Planning and Placemaking, Pratt Institute School of Architecture, New York City said via a video link that New York and London were very similar, with a strong link between health equity and social equity, but that real change happens when political sides align.

And finally Marylis Ramos, associate director at PRP, said building design needs to cut through our sedentary lifestyles and encourage people to keep fit. Good practice includes designing fun, different environments which encourage movement as at places like Google’s Zurich office, complete with slide, treadmill- and even cycling desks, wobble chairs, dynamic walkways, and rooftop gardens. But there were also larger design moves to make to encourage a fitter London. ‘Don’t make the elevator lobby the event’, said Ramos, ‘make it the staircase.’

David Taylor, Editor, New London Quarterly 

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NLA Showcase: Three Cultural Buildings - 27/6/2014


Rambert Studios - Allies and Morrison - (c)Nick Guttridge
Rambert Studios - Allies and Morrison

The architects behind three major London cultural projects which all aim to open up the work of their respective client institutions to the public were at the NLA this morning to give their insights on the schemes.

Patrick Lynch of Lynch Architects spoke about his practice’s work with the National Youth Theatre, a complex ‘mini-masterplan’ of a mixture of uses at 443-449 Holloway Road which seeks to create new connections through a site isolated by zoning policy, a wall and industrial sheds over the years, via a series of courtyard spaces. The project combines new build and refurbishment with a performance space, artist workshops, studios and small shops at ground floor with flats above, and aims to become an ‘integrated part of the city’. In a sense the whole site is a stage set, added Lynch, with an undercroft designed to be used as an external performance space, and there are plans to host works of sculpture created by young people in the area too. ‘I hate to use the term ‘cultural quarter’’, said Lynch, ‘but I think that is what we have to create’.

Allies and Morrison project director Nick Peri took the audience through the practice’s project to create a new ‘HQ’ for the Rambert Dance Company on the South Bank. The dance company was originally based in Chiswick, but in premises which were ‘cobbled together’ and even included unstable floors on which the dancers were advised not to jump. Now, after discussions with Coin Street and a masterplan by Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands, it has built a new facility on a long, thin, rectangular site where its first year’s rent is a pair of ballet shoes. The competition-winning scheme has a number of sustainable features and includes three large double-height dance studios, the largest of which includes Bleacher seating to allow the public to watch rehearsals, public changing facilities, open-plan offices and, critically, three-quarters of the ground floor plan dominated by technical storage and an entranceway for trucks. Peri said the practice wanted to create a strong connection between ground floor and a stair (with oak handrails matching those in the studios) bringing people and light down into a reading room, while another feature is the new ability Rambert now has to store all their archive material in one place, and even stage public events in the scheme for the first time. ‘It has been a transformation for them’, said Peri. ‘Rambert are absolutely thrilled with the building.’

Finally, Haworth Tompkins associate director Paddy Dillon described how the practice is aiming to bring the National Theatre up to date and open it up to more of the public by way of creating a new entrance pavilion, ‘injecting life and dynamism’ into the foyers, a new bar to replace a service yard on the riverfront, and adding a new garden for theatre-goers and the local community on the ‘quite forbidding’ and ‘off-putting’ terraces. Dillon said the practice is also revitalising the Cottesloe Theatre, which was always too cramped and small and, he felt, something of an afterthought. It will re-open as the Dorfman Theatre, said Dillon, with better, more comfortable conditions and acoustics with a new, highly visible education and participation alongside. The Shed, the Haworth Tompkins-designed temporary theatre at the South Bank site while work is ongoing with the Cottesloe, will be removed in 2017, added Dillon. The final part of the complex jigsaw of improvements to reduce the ‘fortress-like’ appearance of the building is a new standalone building to the south using aluminium – Lasdun’s second material on the National Theatre – which contains new paint studios with screen windows allowing the public to see the set design going on inside. ‘One of the astonishing things about the National Theatre is that everything happens in one place’, said Dillon. ‘It’s probably the largest factory left in central London.’

David Taylor, Editor, New London Quarterly 
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