Next Generation Architects: City Fringe Studio

24 April - 5 May

The City Fringe - the area bordering the financial hub of the City of London - was undergoing major changes. Historically there had been a separation between the City and neighbouring communities, but commercial and financial activity was increasing in areas such as Shoreditch, Bethnal Green and Whitechapel. The City Fringe Studio was an opportunity to explore how we could design for this part of London, working with architects selected by The Architecture Foundation / Pipers Next Generation Architects award.

Nine teams of architects spent a day developing ideas and designs for a site on Great Eastern Street, within the London Borough of Hackney. Then a vacant site, it was owned by the City of London Corporation and was suitable for future redevelopment.

The City Corporation owns around £2 billion of investment property which it manages both for income generation and importantly to achieve policy objectives such as regeneration. As one of its policy objectives, the City was promoting the provision of workspace for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the City Fringe. The policy was driven by a shortage of suitable property in the City Fringe for the small businesses that are essential in supporting the City's businesses and the economy of its neighbouring boroughs. The City Corporation had set a target to facilitate 30,000 sq ft of new provision each year and identifying the right architects is essential for the success of these projects.

The site on Great Eastern Street was considered suitable for an SME scheme, as part of a mix of uses, and the City Fringe Studio was an opportunity for architects to respond to the challenge of designing an exciting and commercial scheme that responds to both the City Corporation's policy objectives and the planning brief prepared for the site. The architects had been selected through the AF/Pipers Next Generation Award, established in 2004 to identify architects that can bring new thinking to the design of commercial buildings.

It is an ongoing objective of The Architecture Foundation and Pipers to connect Next Generation Architects with ambitious clients and development projects.

Participating architects:

6a Architects
Brisac Gonzalez
de Rijke Marsh Morgan
Featherstone Associates
Jamie Fobert Architects
Urban Salon



Photography: CJ Clarke

With thanks to Nick McKeogh, Jeremy Gardner, Heather Simpson, Hilary Potter, Mike Osman, Andrew Cross, Peter Bennett, Debbie Whitfield, Nick Freeman, Will Tomlinson, Village Underground and the Next Generation Architects.

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