Douglas and King Architects master plan to reinvigorate Shoreditch takes on a complex dual challenge. Broadly, there is the challenge at the core of any masterplanning project: creating a set of elements that flow together seamlessly with one another and their overall context. But more specifically, the project grapples with a tight triangular site and an already-lively urban context.
The architects' masterplan transforms this neglected urban block into 70,000 square feet of new work space, retail, and other commercial accommodations. The design is driven by the site’s unusual shape, closely followed by the existing historic restoration. A primary pathway cuts through the development, restoring the historic urban fabric and inviting the community into a new public realm.
Each proposed new construction responds to various site influences. An architectural 'bookend,' Picture House aims to unify the styles of two nearby neighborhoods, Old Street and Shoreditch. This commercial, retail building reacts to urban, local, and human scales through vertical emphasis and simultaneous horizontal split. A concrete grid of piers and beams frames glazed apertures, providing changeable shading throughout the day.
Directly adjacent to the restored terraces, 95 Tabernacle relates to its neighbors proportions in a contemporary, sculptural way. Minimal detailing with balanced texture cohesively fills this urban void. Discussions with high-profile community-minded occupants are underway. Contemporary landscaping infuses the urban courtyard with much-needed tranquility. Restored terraces border the yard, anchored by a unique architectural expression on each corner.
Ultimately, each building will be designed independently. However, Douglas and King Architects' proposal creates responsive cohesion on many levels. Responsive cohesion is important not only aesthetically, but for a strong historic and social re-introduction of Shoreditch. By putting heart into urban planning we can stimulate encounters and interactions essential for entrepreneurial communities like these.