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
Somerstown is the trapped district between Euston station and King’s cross / St. Pancras station in central London. It mainly consists of isolated islands of housing estates with strong territories.
How to re-connect Somerstown and Regents park estate through recycling services.
Should we change the model for designing or refurbishing our train stations to focus on the services that help keep the city running or continue with the economic and cosmetic model?
Can we use services, in particular recycling services and all the machinery, processes and by-products that come with them, as an opportunity to introduce complimenting urban facilities?
Urban facilities include a gym, swimming pool and public gardens each re-using; power, heat, water or fertilizers produced by the recycling services onsite.
Recyclable materials are sourced from Euston station, and several local collection stations. Re-establishing a public connection through the back of Euston train station. Re-using buildings expected to be demolished or abandoned due to the arrival of High Speed Rail 2. Some left over spaces are re-used for recycling stations.