Wednesday, 17 March 2010

"Cluster On Me" An Alternative development above Tottenham Court Road Crossrail Station

This was a project done over at Madam Studio, with Rebecca Harral and Marco Ginex.
We are situated in Soho, and are quite horrified at the lack of Programmatic and architectural ingenuity being shown by the proposals for what will replace the two chunks of Soho that are being/have been demolished to make way for the TotCrtRd Crossrail interchange. A rich mix of music venues, night-clubs, offices, restaurants, accomodation, schools, and buildings ranging from the eighteenth century to the 70s (hilariously the whole development is in a conservation zone) are being lost, from the area around The End and Denmark Street, to the block that housed the Ghetto, The Astoria, Dionysus and Metro, to a whole slice of Dean Street, where the old Black Gardenia, with its wooden stools and oddly dressed attendants (always made me think of Johnny Depp), and Spaccanapoli (pizzas by the metre) are all gone, only to be replaced by office blocks with token subsidised space for "culture".

We wanted to incorporate the capital benefits of both monolithic skyscraper projects, like one Canada Square, as well as the kind of groundscraper they are planning to build on the site, with the qualities of architectural and programmatic diversity that we like so much in Soho. To do this we felt that spaces needed to be found in which there was freedom for a variety of architectures, and programmes, as well as ownerships to evolve on their own course, with these "voids", or lacunae-of-design being anchored by a certain quantity of large, defined elements that would insure an economy of scale sufficient to initiate the development.

^View of Tower at Final Stage From The Corner Of Oxford Street and Hanway Place