Diploma 11 has been archiving leftover matter, unplanned sites and accidental architecture throughout London (Ed). These are expressions of times and places resulting in peculiar overlay of physical spaces (Raha). The redevelopment of Euston station is estimated to open up approximately 2.5 million square feet of predictably generic mixed-use development while increasing the number of platforms for a new High Speed 2 (HS2) railway that will connect the city to the Midlands and the North (Conrad).
The rebuild will have a direct impact on certain landmarks (Marko), but before any work has begun the repercussions are already affecting the area (Summer), and this uncertain future has left the neighbourhood, particularly the station itself, in a state of limbo. Physical decay is left unchecked as investment on piecemeal improvements becomes futile under the impending threat of demolition (Yannick). Our challenge is to define what makes up London today by sampling the city with careful consideration and investigating networks (Jonas), layers and levels of complexity that form its urban definition.
Our technique is the collage. By cutting and pasting, we reconfigure the existing and expect the unexpected (Max). We responded to a series of ‘what ifs?’ and proposed fixtures, fragments and forms that reveal, connect and cut through the essential matters of the existing fabric. Proposals derived from our research stand for continuity in the current reality of a market economy where the homogenisation caused by the likes of Starbucks and Holiday Inn has engulfed the city and transformed it with immense speed.
Our technical studies have continued to explore composite structures and material organisations that respond to the permanency and temporality inherent in Euston’s restructuring (Tom). Urban sampling extended to Nanjing China’s Xiaguan district and was juxtaposed with Euston as we suggested possibilities of how the local community around the abandoned train station can co-exist within the overall masterplan proposed by SOM (Xia). The unit plays a game of scales, materials, city stories and textures that are to be materialised in one design discourse (Jessica) – a counter proposal of sorts – in response to the overbearing sameness of the conventional masterplan (Yannick).
Guest critics and thanks
Valentin Bontjes van Beek
Carlos Villanueva Brandt
David Grahame Shane
Georgie and Charlie Corry Wright
South East University Nanjing
We do not recognize problems of form, but problems of construction. The form is not a goal, rather the result of our work.
Kurt Schwitters, Merz, No. 8/9 (Hanover, April-July 1924) (“Nasci”)
How to conceive spatial and a temporal paradox built in concrete embodying mediation between High Speed rail 2 new station project and localities opposing the development?
Concrete slab structure performs as a third way in current opposition between two scales: emphasized nationally important project and ordinary single lives of inhabitants within Euston station area. Inserted between two oppositions: plans to demolish the footprint in and around existing Euston station to make way for new High Sped 2 railway station, or in reverse leaving the built fabric as it is following the suggestions of local community, concrete slab performs as separation that enables two to coexist.
Project offers to reuse the existing buildings within Euston station expansion zone as public space by inserting new railway platforms under separating and supporting the two by concrete structural system that accommodates commuter flows. The vertical arrangement provided by structural solution enables rail platforms, station concourse and public space coexist in a proposal operating as procedure of continuity in context of radical transformation and redevelopment of London built fabric.