A crowd of eager Pecha Kucha fans crammed into Feilden Clegg Bradley’s Fitzrovia studios last night to hear about some capital ideas proposed to make London a better place.
The event – where speakers are given 20 seconds per slide to talk through their proposals – draws on the Capital Idea feature of the same name in New London Quarterly, where designers propose solutions to some of the problems or opportunities they see in the city around them.
Ideas last night ranged from a hireable pop-up box for events made from pressed metal put forward by Ian Simpson Architects’ Christian Male, to another street furniture-focused idea by Nicholas Hare Architects’ Joanna Day to reuse the much-derided KX100 telephone box as Wi-Fi enabled international pavilions to show the diversity of London. Alistair Huggett of Southwark Council’s talked through proposals to open up the area’s hidden backwaters, particularly around the viaduct in a bid to end the ‘severance’ it causes; John Robertson Architects director David Magyar, showed his vision for a decarbonised, pedestrianised city core with landform architecture and shared surfaces, while Ramboll’s Robert Godbold showed his innovative plan for a high-level walkway over the top of Oxford Street’s buildings. There was also a proposal for a similarly high-level cycleway with associated public realm spaces using redundant parts of the DLR from Ian Givin of Child Graddon Lewis Architects (short film here:http://vimeo.com/83708254). HawkinsBrown researcher Darryl Chen talked the audience through his vision of a new infrastructure while NBBJ double-act Christian Coop and James Pinkerton looked at a way of getting more out of the underground, including using travelators. Atkins’ Neil Manthorpe investigated the notion of creating an ‘i-Street’ to harness technology to help connect people, while PTEa’s proposal was in a similar vein –Scan London being a way of utilising smartphones and QR codes affixed to signs like the well-known system of blue plaques to allow users to read up information about buildings and places, potentially as a democratic aid to the planning process. ‘You could put plaques on buildings you’re proud of’, said PTEa’s Andrew Beharrell, ‘or at least those you’re not in litigation over.’
David Taylor, Editor, New London Quarterly