Design of streets, civic square and coworking yards as social urban tissue for London's Design District community

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Design District public realm

Knight Dragon

Greenwich Peninsula

London, UK

1ha development site (Design District)

Construction complete 2021

oliver@schulzeplusgrassov.com

HNNA, 6A Architects, Adam Khan Architects, Architecture 00, Barozzi Veiga, David Kohn Architects, Mole Architects, Selgas Cano

The largest single regeneration project in the United Kingdom is realised on the Greenwich Peninsula. With first phases complete, Schulze+Grassov was asked to help create a framework for the public realm of the Peninsula Central District that has now become one of the densest car-free neighbourhoods in the world.

Appreciating our principle of using the public realm of the city as a platform for building strong urban communities, the developer appointed us as part of a team of 9 architects to: co-author the architect’s brief, ensuring a successful integration of buildings and public realm; and design all of the open spaces, including coworking yards and central square. This compact neighbourhood is now welcoming over 1,800 creatives working out of 16 purpose-designed buildings.

©KnightDragon

The brief for the 8 building architects was developed with input from Schulze+Grassov to set out the principles for the programming of buildings at ground floor level and the building exterior facades.

Our motivation was here to ensure that all 16 buildings together create one lively district in which all people can clearly see and sense the energy of a creative world, opening up to the public realm.

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The public realm is to the Design District what a table is to a good dinner party. An important democratic platform for communication and community building. In the open spaces of the district we are meeting other people and over time we get to know other members and businesses in the community.

The spaces between the buildings support the communication between different people and businesses. They are designed as pedestrian spaces with low levels of pollution from noise and fumes to support outdoor work, recreation and socialising.

The coworking yards are designed to be attractive and safe spaces to enjoy fresh air, with places to enjoy sun and shade. The yard design includes generous areas of in-situ concrete paving where outdoor work on sculptures and prototypes is possible.

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As an eclectic and compact cluster of 16 different buildings on a one-hectare site, the Design District is an intense experience for users and visitors. The public realm is carefully considered in terms of detail and design to provide a robust urban landscape with high-quality natural materials, generous public seating and a diverse selection of trees in streets and courtyards.

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Lighting of the public realm deploys state-of-the-art LED technology developed with unique settings, specifically designed for the Design District. We are creating safe and attractive atmospheres that adjust to the time of the evening and different times of the year.

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Tree species for the district are chosen carefully to help people at work to connect with nature in a new way. Every coworking yard has signature trees to create a unique identity. Over the seasons, every day will feel a little different to the people using these spaces on a daily basis.

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We helped the client to author part of the architect brief to make sure that all building design addresses the surrounding buildings and open spaces in a positive way. The resulting development was mindful of the dynamic community that grow here.

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Consider This ... Design District

Architects Brief Public Realm Section

Knight Dragon

Greenwich Peninsula

London, UK

2018

oliver@schulzeplusgrassov.com

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Consider This ...