The rapid industrialisation of London in the nineteenth century led to the growth in infrastructure to meet the demands of the ever-growing population, shaping the fabric of the City as we know it today. The lack of conscious urban planning as a result of the mass destruction inflicted by the ravenous Great Fire and cataclysmic World War II, formed a sporadic patchwork of disharmonious buildings.
In a more recent shift, the booming neo-liberal London economy has reframed the City as a built environment informed through datasets dictating development, based upon plausible financial investment and net capital growth. The scarcity of buildable space, as a consequence of pre-existing structures, mass urban density and necessity to achieve maximum economic gain has created a competitive market of investors and developers, capitalising from the forced insertion of privatised function.
The city has been blinded by gluttony to a point where primary civic assets and services have been condensed to the most basic form. Although development is critical to the growth of the economy, a recurring theme of loss of identity, unsympathetic rejuvenation and an absence of environmental agenda is emerging; a sense of clarity is required through a shift in attitudes and legislative design policies.
Using a design-based approach, London’s Cannon Street Station will form the basis of the proposal through the adaptive reuse of a pre-existing structure. The current multi-storey office space, capped by a private rooftop garden will be consciously and sustainably adopted, retaining the maximum useable structural material in an effort to prevent further damage to the existing frame.
The development will act as a cornerstone in an effort to allow for the people to have greater control in shaping public spaces and provide a precedent for the future removal of inner city civic privatisation. A sense of transparency will be maintained through the integration of transportation links and the introduction of a footbridge, populating the building through the re-formation of a historic passage.
Encapsulated theatre spaces will provide a sense of purpose and alongside government funds, will ensure the sympathetic and financial upkeep of the building is maintained. The adaptation of the rooftop botanical winter garden allows for the public to enjoy the green space, rather than watch from afar as is common with many city spaces. From the botanics, panoramic views pay homage to the theatre of the city, repurposing the building into The Garden of Candlewrich, a garden for London.