london will demolish two historic buildings for project by diller scofidio + renfro

london will demolish two historic buildings for project by diller scofidio + renfro

plans to demolish historic cultural site set to move forward

 

The city of London is currently working with Diller Scofidio + Renfro on plans to transform the London Wall West. The site — home to the Museum of London and the Bastion House — is currently under review as the museum is planned to relocate to a new home in the UK capital’s West Smithfield neighborhood and the 1970s-era Bastion House office building no longer meets modern standards. The new neighborhood — aiming toward Net Zero by 2040 — will introduce to the area new offices, exhibition and cultural spaces, restaurants and cafés, and landscaped parks.

 

During the very first planning stages for the new site, the city claims to have spoken directly to residents of the neighborhood at public exhibitions to ‘understand their priorities and ensure the London Wall West meets as many of these priorities as possible.’ 

 

If plans are approved, the project will see the demolition of the two historic buildings. The team claims to have investigated the feasibility of adaptive reuse versus demolition and new build, concluding new construction to be the best possible option for the highest-performing architecture.

 

A campaign known as London Starts Here has been launched to save the Bastion House and the Museum of London, with locals praising the irreplaceable qualities of the spaces. According to BBC, nearly ‘90% of residents have voted for an alternative to demolition’ (see here).

 

UPDATE May 21st, 2024: The London Wall West redevelopment project is set to move forward. This means that the former Museum of London and Bastion House are to be demolished, the 1970s-era buildings replaced with the redevelopment by Diller Scofidio + Renfro and local architects Sheppard Robson. The London Starts Here campaign comments:We are obviously disappointed by the committee’s decision, but not surprised given that this came from a local authority whose officials restated at the meeting that the city of London does not recognise the climate emergency.’

london wall westimages courtesy City of London

 

 

the design of the new london wall west

 

London Wall West (see here) is planned to occupy the site of the Barbican complex, a district created in the 1960s and 1970s to rebuild a bomb-damaged area of London. Currently, the quarter is characterized by its urban fabric of concrete, brick, and stone — a character which the city seeks to replace with lush vegetation and a more ‘welcoming’ zone by Diller Scofidio + Renfro (see here) and local architects Sheppard Robson.

 

The new development is comprised of three primary structures. A new 17-level Bastion House, a 14-level Rotunda Building, and a 5-level office building. Collectively, these buildings will provide around 56,000 square meters of office space. The development will also incorporate dedicated cultural areas, including plazas and gardens, along with a public rooftop garden.

 

The design team hoped to achieve this green and welcoming quality by planning a collection of open public spaces, each serving as a ‘relief from the buzz of the city.’

 

The public spaces are proposed to host small-scale gatherings and events, as well as intimate areas for relaxation within nature. The multi-story development — below, on, and above the level of the street — will take shape as a swath of nature with landscape architecture by Gross Max, even aiming to create a new, biodiverse ecosystem with habitats for birds and insects.

london wall west

 

 

the public spaces in detail

 

These public areas include: Barber Surgeons’ Hall Garden, with improvements and re-wilding to the existing gardens and access to the Roman Wall; The Central Plaza, a street-level public space flanked retail and the cultural anchor space; The Northern Garden, created by decking over the existing service yard, a quiet space with small seating areas amongst trees; The Glade, a new meadow-like garden at highwalk level and the center-piece of the new scheme; Aldersgate Plaza, the enhanced setting of the Ironmongers’ Hall, its heritage value acknowledged as a landmark that should be more accessible from the street.

london wall west
view of the Central Plaza

 

 

london wall west: aiming toward net-zero

 

The city of London claims that London Wall West will be a net zero carbon development in line with the city’s commitment to achieving Net Zero by 2040. The proposed scheme’s embodied carbon will be reduced through lean design and the careful selection of materials. For example, the structure will use high-strength steel in columns and concrete will include the use of 50% cement replacement.

 

The buildings’ operational carbon emissions will be reduced with a high-performance façade limiting demands for heating and cooling balanced with good daylighting and the use of high-efficiency active systems. The development will also incorporate renewable energy systems appropriate to the location. By promoting electrically-driven systems above fossil-fuel based systems the development will be good for local air-quality.

london wall westview of the central events space within the heart of the Plaza

 

 

The city notes that London Wall West will be the ‘future of office space.’ The team says: ‘In order to do this, we must recognize that occupiers have new demands — not least in terms of the facilities a building offers and how it contributes positively to the working environment.

 

The office remains an important part of modern working, as companies see it as key to building team culture and to ensuring that they can continue to attract and retain the best staff.

 

Offices have long been organized to maximize the quantity of desk space throughout. The amount of office space a company required was thus informed solely by the number of workers. Now, trends have seen the density of desks decrease with break out spaces, social spaces, and amenities increase to boost wellbeing, productivity, and improve staff retention. ‘A lot of space now goes to areas other than just ‘the desk,‘ the team notes.

london wall west

diller-scofidio-renfro-london-west-wall-uk-designboom-06a

view of the Glade

 

diller-scofidio-renfro-london-west-wall-uk-designboom-08a

view of the Northern Garden

 

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the enclosed central events space within the heart of the Plaza
the enclosed central events space within the heart of the Plaza
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view of the new exhibition space around the hidden Roman Fort Gate
view of the new exhibition space around the hidden Roman Fort Gate
view of Barber Surgeons' Hall Garden
view of Barber Surgeons' Hall Garden
view of Aldersgate Plaza
view of Aldersgate Plaza
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project info:

 

project title: London Wall West

architecture: Diller Scofidio + Renfro | @diller_scofidio_renfro

local architects: Sheppard Robson | @sheppard_robson

landscape architecture: Gross Max Landscape Architects

structure: Buro Happold

developer: Gerald Eve

client: City of London

status: consultation process, determination expected Spring 2023

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