London’s Bishopsgate Goodsyard

Zaha Hadid’s legacy will live on forever through her buildings, her contributions to architecture and the world, and even more importantly through her students. In the final studio course let by Hadid, her students Lisa Albaugh, Benjamin Bourgoin, Jamie Edindjiklian, Roberto Jenkins and Justin Oh at Yale School of Architecture designed a high density mixed use project that has Hadid written all over it.  The project is for London’s Bishopsgate Goodsyard, which is the largest chunk of undeveloped land in central London.

The towers rise from the ground, looking like a sculpture with smooth curves culminating in sharp edges, perhaps a marriage of the works of Zaha Hadid and Antoni Gaudi? For the students, the inspiration for these sculptural towers has been Hadid’s work and biomimicry. The complex consists of a high-density tower, a mid-rise block and a train station in between the two and a landscaped park.

Courtesy of Yale School of Architecture

Courtesy of Yale School of Architecture

They felt that in the existing London skyline the “agglomeration of differences between towers diminishes their engagement on an urban scale,” and thus they sought to create a design that would blend smoothly at the ground level, rising up as a part of the urban fabric rather than above it. At the base, viaducts define the starting points for the towers, also acting as the access points to various public spaces.

Courtesy of Yale School of Architecture

A prerequisite of any tower is its vertical transport system- elevators, escalators, stairwells- the ‘core’. The team undertook research of the accepted traditional typologies and through their design challenged the norm that a core has to define the building. They instead created separate towers attached to the existing one creating a composition of fibrils for different functions- structural, vertical transport, mechanical systems.

Courtesy of Yale School of Architecture

Courtesy of Yale School of Architecture

While these students have designed a tower that could completely redefine the urban fabric and skyline of London, there has been a huge opposition against the actual proposal for the site by developers Hammerson and Ballymore as their proposal “would result in unacceptable and avoidable significant negative impacts,” to the neighbourhood. It has brought on a petition of 11,000 signatures and 500 letters of opposition, and 150 local businesses, local MPs and the local planning authorities of Hackney and Tower Hamlets standing together against it.

Courtesy of Hammerson and Ballymore

Courtesy of Hammerson and Ballymore

Project Information :
Architects :  Lisa Albaugh, Benjamin Bourgoin, Jamie Edindjiklian, Roberto Jenkins and Justin Oh
Location : Bishopsgate Goodsyard , London , England
Project Year : 2016
Project Type : Unbuilt
University: Yale School of Architecture

By: Sahiba Gulati

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