The Multiplied Grounds studio served as an opportunity to reinvent and reorganize how architecture, infrastructure and the city intersect and transform one another through new hybrid typologies.
The project was to represents a scale where the architecture and urbanism blur, offering the potential for what O.M. Ungers called Grossform to describe projects where coherent architectural form operates at the scale of the city and in turn transforms it.
The Bishopsgate Goodsyard site sits in the Shoreditch section of east London. Historically a lower income and more ethnically diverse part of the city, Shoreditch has experienced an influx of artists, hipsters and tech entrepreneurs during the last two decades leading to incredible market pressures on the Goodsyard and surrounding neighborhood.
A long linear brownfield, the Goodsyard site is an interruption in the fabric and street grid of the surrounding city created by railroad and transit infrastructures both active and abandoned. In 2000 an extension of the London Over-ground transit network was constructed on the northern half of the site with a new Shoreditch High Street Station built on the site. The Overground construction necessitated the demolition of half of the remaining nineteenth-century Goodsyard infrastructure and significant parts of the remaining structure were given listed historic status at this time.
In 2010 an Interim Planning Guidance Document was created that lays out a series of urban design principles for the site, and in 2014 Hammerson and Ballymore proposed the current scheme for the site.
The height, use mix, and especially, the affordability of the current development proposal have been heavily criticized from a number of angles. However with the May 2016 election of left leaning Sadiq Kahn it is likely the project will be radically rethought prior to anything being built. In response to this opening, the studio created a new framework for the project by exploring a range of urban design scenarios that re-imagined how, for whom, and to what public benefit high density new uses, amenities and public spaces could be created on the Goodsyard.
Kit of Parts
After studying the distinct spatial characteristics of the different arched typologies, we developed a “kit of parts” for each part of the pieces of the program that would be plugged into the established organizing grid.
These were separated into two main categories: the residential and the public typologies, each would utilize the standard 3m x 3m grid unit as framework and would implement each type of arch and scale it accordingly to provide ideal spatial characteristics for each encompassing piece of program within each "part".
The mixed-used nature of the project called for an overarching architectural language that would stitch each part of the program together.
The image and spatial experience of the arch were utilized as a way to celebrate and multiply the existing conditions of the site as well as the Victorian history of London into a contemporary form.
“Urban design consists in identifying the places within the urban chaos, naming them and discovering their special features."
- O.M. Ungers
Our design proposes a completely porous ground floor with public amenities and various retail spaces. This is to further enhance the idea of the site as an artifact within the city, as it would be open to the public and not just the private residents.
In addition, the space on top of the existing brick vaults would become a public park. Taking the users from one end of the site to the other and exposing various moment of the proposal through it.