School storeys

Masterplan for Old Street roundabout, London

“Undoubtedly the most beautiful of all the submissions”.

Liza Fior, competition judge.

Images of the staged Development Model and associated text were entered for the Architecture Foundation open competition: “Any Old Street?” in May 2004.

This picture poem is made from one model photographed and animated in stills of scale, time and use. It tells its own story.

When the Old Street north pavement loops around the roundabout island to City Road and back again, the new shape describes a considerable open space.

If access, inclusion and use make any open space thrive, the new shape should reach in and out in all directions to make its name.

The underground station is especially hidden, let’s see it. The train lines, too, where are the escapes and vents?

This Old Street Park is available around the clock, used at different times for different reasons to keep it going. It provides for the neighbourhood and encourages a wider constituency.

So who’s it for and why’s it there, what does it do, if it’s used, when’s it full, when’s it open, what does it look and feel and run like?

This school has it all; stations, fields and gardens, accommodation stacked up and in clusters – a landmark, a shopping parade, a hotel, a theatre, pools, houses.

In other words, fill it up, the fuller the better.

Did we misunderstand the competition brief or did we just go too far? Whichever, our prediction of more than twelve years ago, looks soon to be realised, Old Street roundabout can be no more allowing all speeds of traffic to be remixed and underground made plain to surface level and above.

Service: Masterplan

Location: Old Street, London

Client: Undisclosed

Cost: Undisclosed

Areas: XXm2

Dates: XX

To Live In   To Learn In   To Work In   To Play In