A quarter of design

A quarter of design


Eight architecture studios have been tasked with creating buildings for a dedicated ‘Design District’ at the £8.4 billion Greenwich Peninsula development in East London. The new cultural quarter will be home to 16 buildings for more than 1,800 creatives, with flexible rental pricing set to reflect the size of the businesses.

Developer Knight Dragon says rents will average £25 per square foot, while workshop space will start at £10 to "answer the call for more affordable workspaces in the capital". Leases will be short-term to encourage churn and the infusion of new blood.

Each architectural firm will design a pair of buildings blind from the 14 others with the aim of creating a ‘provocative diversity of colour and form’. The finished product is set to provide workshops, artists studios and flexible desk space set around a series of courtyards, and a main public square which will feature a market with independent traders.

The developer envisages the provision of ‘dirty’ workshops for making physical products to spaces ranging for anything from graphic design through to web development

The London Mayor’s Office says the city has lost one-third of its creative workspaces and studios over the past decade and needs new solutions when one in every six workers in London is busy in the creative industries.

Knight Dragon say Greenwich Peninsula will be outlined by 1.6 miles of waterfront with close to 16,000 homes and a commercial district of 3.5 million square feet of shops, hotels, schools and public facilities. The area will also boast a film studio – Ravensbourne College is in the neighbourhood – and a new tube station design by Santiago Calatrava.

The key to the project might be keeping people front and centre, with critics of city development initiatives increasingly pointing out that many focus on developing technology-based urban solutions rather human ones.

Image: Knight Dragon

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