Architects to work on market buildings and public realm
Studio Egret West and Hawkins Brown have won the competition for the next phase of work at Smithfield Market.
The two architects were picked by the City of London Corporation to reimagine the Smithfield East and West Market buildings and the broader Smithfield area.
Studio Egret West is leading on the delivery of concept designs for new cultural and commercial spaces within the market buildings themselves, while Hawkins Brown is leading on the surrounding public realm.
The projects are part of the City’s plans to brand as the Culture Mile an area between Farringdon and Moorgate where Crossrail stations are currently due to open next year, bringing thousands more visitors to the area.
At the same time, the Museum of London is due to move into some of the market buildings in 2024 in a project designed by Stanton Williams, Asif Khan and Julian Harrap Architects. A new concert hall has been mooted for the museum’s current site, designed by Diller Scofidio & Renfro.
The City Corporation is planning to consolidate its three wholesale food markets on to a single site at Dagenham Dock.
It said in a statement: “Should the Meat Market move as part of this project, the Smithfield East and West Market buildings will be transformed into a vibrant, mixed-use development that complements Culture Mile. The final concept designs will protect and reflect the history of these iconic buildings which have served their area for over 150 years.”
The jury, which included an independent Mayoral Design Advocate, picked Studio Egret West as “best placed to lead on the designs for this landmark project given their comprehensive knowledge of the area and their exciting ideas for breathing new life into these special buildings”.
SEW’s team includes Alan Baxter Associates, structural engineers and heritage advisors, Donald Insall Associates, conservation architects and This Must Be The Place, specialists in “meanwhile uses”.
The practices will now consult with stakeholders to develop their concept designs.
Studio Egret West’s project
SEW adopted a flexible approach to curating a mix of uses that would both support the night-time economy and complement the new Museum of London, recognising the pace of change in the broader area. The uses proposed blend cultural, commercial, and creative space to create a world-class destination for all. SEW’s approach also allows for some early delivery through pop-up and temporary uses that both celebrate the history of the location and introduce exciting innovative uses.
David West, founding director at Studio Egret West, said: “We are excited to explore the evolution of Smithfield Market, working closely with the City of London Corporation, key stakeholders and the wider community.
“Thanks to connectivities that did not exist previously, Smithfield is set to attract a new influx of people and, should the meat market move, Smithfield Market could be transformed in a highly flexible and imaginative way, creating a place for meeting and making, growing and exchanging, exposition and entertainment.
“Similar to the Great Exhibition of 1851, imagine the spectrum of innovations celebrated in the newly opened-up market halls of Smithfield.”
Hawkins Brown’s public realm project
This project will deliver exceptional new public spaces across the whole Smithfield area,which runs from Farringdon Street to Aldersgate. The new public realm will transform the pedestrian experience by replacing some of the existing road network with new footpaths and landscaping – creating healthier, well-lit and safer streets, while helping to improve air quality by reducing emissions from traffic.
Hawkins Brown’s initial concept demonstrated an appropriate and imaginative design process which responded to the different historic street patterns in the area, taking into consideration surrounding character and uses. The proposals also set up methods for introducing greenery into the area, alongside a healthy streets approach, and designing a spacious and welcoming “threshold” area for the major institutions that will be opening on the site.
The new spaces could also host a range of cultural activities throughout the year, attracting new visitors to the area.
Darryl Chen, partner and head of urban design at Hawkins Brown, said: “We are delighted to be appointed on the transformation of this historic landmark site. This is a unique challenge to reimagine the identity of an entire area for the enjoyment of London’s residents and its visitors. Our initial scheme is based on the idea of the field – returning the area’s lanes and rat-runs into a single identifiable place that provides a range of settings for civic activities. The design of public spaces could really blur boundaries between inside and outside and redefine how culture is expressed in the public realm. Our practice has been long-time residents of Farringdon and we look forward to revealing the stories and significance it has had for many in the area.”