8 Emerging Architects Create an Unexpected Playful Contrast for Greenwich's Design District

The Greenwich Design District is the next phase in London's largest single regeneration project - a new creative hub providing affordable workspaces and studios. Eight up and coming architecture practices have 'blindly' designed two buildings each, independently from one and other. The result is an amalgamation of 'architectural anarchy' and a 'neighborhood of playful contrasts.'

Urban developers Knight Dragon are coordinating the entire development of Greenwich Peninsula, celebrating the diversity of art, design, technology, music, and food industries that this innovative district will be the home of. The mix of architecture stays true to the ideals of the district, presenting a provocative front of 'unexpected contrasts' brought together by the same natural paving throughout the pedestrianized quarter designed by Schulze+Grassov to encourage communication and interaction between the public.

Courtesy of Knight Dragon

Open studios are set around a large public square with workshop space starting at £10 per square foot, allowing the creative economy to grow whilst the businesses trade and intersect. As well as the studios for 1,800 of London's creatives, the district will host a market hall, basketball terrace on the roof and retail spaces for the work produced in the district.

The architecture firms that were involved are listed below:

Mole Architects

Inspired by the male and female figures, Mole Architects play with the robust and delicate metal exteriors as one building is clad with CorTen weathered steel and the other is finished with iridescent paint whilst being equally sensitive on the interior with exposed beams and warm wooden ceilings.

Courtesy of Knight Dragon

Adam Khan Architects

The rawness of the nearby construction sites influenced these two buildings to exemplify the roughness of semi-completed forms. The architects' exploration into raw beauty juxtaposes the tranquil interior for concentration and calmness.

6a Architects

These two buildings are a 'pair of un-identical twins' that form similarities around the cut-out viewpoints in the rectangular form and 'colored blockwork on the concrete frame'. On the lower levels, there are larger spaces which lend themselves to the narrower studio space on top.

Courtesy of Knight Dragon

Architecture 00

Social interaction is key in these designs, integrating large flexible spaces that can adapt to suit the inhabitants as well as leisure activities such as the basketball court on the roof terrace and pop-up bar. The contact with the public is further prompted by an external staircase that can be accessed at all times.

Barozzi / Veiga

Designed for the artists, photographers, and sculptors, the building is clad in a polished aluminum. Based on the time of day or year, the reflection is everchanging and brightens the surrounding area.

Courtesy of Knight Dragon

Selgas Cano

Introducing nature into their buildings, their transparent market hall is caterpillar-shaped and filled with trees and foliage for visitors to sit and eat amongst. A winter garden adorns their second building to create a calm entrance for the workers and anyone else.


Both buildings have a crisp, outer exterior undulating in either a vertical or horizontal formation, capturing the views based around each. An informal aesthetic is created from the unexpected twists and forms of the shell of the building whilst the white visual keeps it sleek.

Courtesy of Knight Dragon

David Kohn Architects

Traditionally built with red bricks, a green metal grid surrounds both the buildings which refer to the celebrated British architect James Stirling. One building hosts an illuminated sign on the roof whilst the other has a roof terrace overlooking the central park and will bear six new sculptures commissioned every year.

The Design District is only a small phase in the overall Greenwich Peninsula regeneration but will feature in the center by the O2 arena and North Greenwich tube station. The entire £8.4billion transformation will create 15,720 new homes in 7 new neighborhoods, lining 1.6 miles of the River Thames. Calatrava has also designed a new mixed-used tube station as part of the project.

Courtesy of Knight Dragon

News Via: Knight Dragon.

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Cite: Ella Thorns. "8 Emerging Architects Create an Unexpected Playful Contrast for Greenwich's Design District" 07 Oct 2017. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/880938/8-emerging-architects-create-an-unexpected-playful-contrast-in-greenwichs-design-district> ISSN 0719-8884

Courtesy of Knight Dragon


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