A Square Development // London School of Architecture // November 2016
This is the culmination of an urban research project conducted over the first term at the new London School of Architecture. Honing in on the area of London surrounding Lincoln's Inn Fields, my research focussed on new developments that fully demolish and re-imagine an entire city block. Koolhaas famously denotes the city block as the "maximum unit of urbanistic ego", but what is the resultant community and lifecycle when an architectural ego of this size takes hold of a piece of the city?
This proposal intends to celebrate these sites under development, making a spectacle of this unique state of flux within the city. Focussing on the new Carey Street project “Lincoln Square” as a prime example of when a city block is removed, the proposal will turn this site into a square for the duration of the build, creating interest and interaction, as well as providing a ready made audience for the finished development.
The aim of this study is to respond to the condition of a new construction, rather than this site specifically. Contentious as this particular development is, I have intentionally ignored the proposal itself in order to create a set of circumstances, or a list of ingredients, that could be applied to any newly demolished block in the city.
Urban analysis to understand the intricacies of this area. (1) Mapping the zones occupied by pedestrians associated with the institutions in the area, compared with the density of all pedestrian traffic (2) and the buildings that each institution claims ownership to (3). This then allowed me to track the main pedestrian routes, and highlight the target areas where an intervention would be needed in order to draw people into the 'square'. (4)
To fully understand the reasons why Carey Street is hardly used, and to pin point the features that create the area's identity and therefore must be preserved, I roughly sketched and wrote over maps consistently during my research. Above is one of these sketches which marks out what physical features cause people to use some of the more successful public spaces (green), and highlights critical routes (red) that need to be created in order to bring people into the Carey Street site.