Zaha, AHMM and Cove Burgess on 39-proposal longlist for city fringe landmark

Zaha Hadid Architects, AHMM and a host of other big names have emerged on a 39-proposal longlist to redesign London’s Old Street Roundabout, the spiritual hub of the capital’s tech industry.

In December last year Islington council launched a design competition to accompany Transport for London’s proposals to reconfigure the island, which will see traffic flows change and the creation of a new peninsula.

Entrants were asked to demonstrate the potential for new public art and “smart city” innovation, at the same time as retaining the current high-profile advertising opportunities and accommodating infrastructure for Old Street Underground Station.

A proviso for the submissions was that they should be deliverable with a budget of £1m, unless teams could identify viable external funding.

ZHA’s proposals are pedestrian-focused, and would see the introduction of a range of new street furniture into the roundabout space, the tallest of which would be “enhanced tree pylons” that would help clean the air and introduce vegetation to Old Street.

Zaha Hadid Architects' proposals for Old Street Roundabout

Zaha Hadid Architects’ proposals for Old Street Roundabout

In addition to benches, water fountains and vertical cycle stands, the scheme would also include street furniture with art displays and travel information.

AHMM’s submission – in conjunction with developer Derwent London – proposed the creation of a new raised cylindrical structure on the Old Street peninsula, which would include a 360-degree advertising hoarding, 1,300sq m of flexible space for new businesses, and a roof terrace.

Es Devlin Studio's 'Infinite Library' proposals for Old Street Roundabout

Es Devlin Studio’s ‘Infinite Library’ proposals for Old Street Roundabout

Es Devlin Studio’s entry, in co-operation with Google Arts and Culture, proposed the creation of a spherical “Infinite Library”, which the practice described as a “Blakean fusion of poetry, people, art, light and technology”. The poet and printmaker William Blake is buried at the nearby Bunhill Fields.

Cove Burgess Architects’ proposals involve the delivery of three high-rise cycle storage towers, modelled on a scheme already in use in Tokyo, which would also deliver 300sq m of high-level digital advertising space.

Cove Burgess Architects' cycle-focused Old Street proposals

Cove Burgess Architects’ cycle-focused Old Street proposals

Coffey Architects’ “Old Street Cloud” scheme would involve the installation of 24 poles in an ellipse shape around the station infrastructure. During the day, the poles would release a pollution-blocking mist at a height of five metres; after dark images would be projected on to the mist.

Islington councillor Claudia Webbe, who is on the competition’s judging panel along with Gehl Architects’ Allison Dutoit, said more than 120 expressions of interest in the project had been made, of which the longlist contenders were the most “innovative and inspiring”.


Old Street Roundabout

The longlist entries – full details below – can be seen online via Islington council’s website, or at an exhibition running weekday afternoons at 2-4 Old Street Yard until March 2.

Islington said it expected to make an announcement on the “best design ideas” in late March.

Old Street Roundabout – full longlist

AHMM & Derwent London

Atelier Chang

Ayre Camberlain Gaunt Architects

Brodie Plant Goddard

Coffey Architects

Cove Burgess Architects

D*Haus Company LTD

Dar Group


EPR Architects

Es Devlin Studio

Fereday Pollard (01)

Fereday Pollard (02)


Gibson Thornley Architects

Gpad London

GRID Architects

Hawkins Brown

Horden Cherry Lee (HCL) Architects

Intervention Architecture LTD

JaK Studio


Markwick Architects


MAX Architects

Naza Architectura y Diseño

Nicholas Hare Architects

Paul Cocksedge Studio with Ben Adams Architects

Perserverance Architects Ltd

Pillbrow and Partners

Ruben Ramos Jimenez


Spaced Out Ltd


Thor Architects

Tonkin Liu

Urben Limited

What if: projects ltd

Zaha Hadid Architects