The proposed concept for the site was to transform a single-use office building into a genuinely mixed use development incorporating office, retail, restaurant and residential use; seeking to create a new destination integrated within the local area.
The architects chose to situate the buildings around a new courtyard in the center of the site, which is connected by a publicly accessible route and ground floor public uses to the surrounding streets and spaces.
The key elements of the scheme were to introduce activity into the area, provide a mix of uses particularly retail, restaurants and housing introducing daytime and night time surveillance, and creating a properly managed and controlled environment which is reflected in the urban design approach to the layout of retail units, spaces and pedestrian routes.
Located in Camden, the project is part of a complex urban patchwork of medieval streets, modern buildings and traditional urban blocks. This environment had a dramatic impact on the design of the project.
The scheme is composed of complex volumes, which are characterically chiselled fragmented and reduced in scale to match the surrounding buildings. These chiselled volumes mad St-G an impressive architectural sculpture characterized by a combination of shimmering facets.
Each facet is unique, differing in height, orientation, color, and relationship to natural light. Glass, steel and ceramic are the primary elements of the skin. In each fact the ceramic is used in different shade and colors that respond to the surrounding building, thus helping to integrate the scheme in the immediate urban environment.
At the core of the scheme there is a large courtyard, where the public activity is concentrated with its cafes and restaurants this piazza will generate social life, thus enhancing the urban identity of the site. A six-meter full height glass facade provides a maximum of transparency, five passages through this courtyard allow a permeable scheme and invite passers-by to this piazza shaded by a 20m high tree.
Figures: © RPBW; © L&G and MEC; © Michel Denance; © Hufton & Crow; © Joost Moolhuijzen; © Maurits van der Staay
Central Saint Giles, London, England
Renzo Piano Building Workshop Architectsin collaboration with Fletcher Priest Architects
Material: Glass, Ceramics, Steel