Friday, April 4, 2014

London: Holborn Overhaul and De-Fencing the Street

(From Architects Journal, used w/o permission.)

"Farrell unveils Holborn overhaul vision"
Merlin Fulcher, Architects Journal (June 14, 2012)

"[First look] Terry Farrell and Partners has revealed his masterplan to revamp the Holborn, Bloomsbury and St Giles areas of London

"Re-branded 'Midtown', the district is expected to undergo major regeneration with the arrival of Crossrail in 2018.

"Farrell's vision centres on the area's three major hubs: St Giles Circus, Holborn Crossroads and Holborn Circus – setting out roadmap for improving public realm, the urban environment and pedestrian and transport congestion.

"Proposals include phasing out High Holborn's one-way system, creating new pedestrian crossings and expanding the cycle network.

"Tass Mavrogordato, chief executive of project-backer InMidtown BID, said: 'We will be more impacted than anywhere else by the opening of London's two biggest Crossrail stations in Farringdon and Tottenham Court Road...."

That aerial view of Farrell's proposed London makeover is an attractive picture.

Making a nifty picture is one thing, planning a detailed renovation of even part of a city is something else. The Lemming didn't know whether this was one of those visionary projects that nobody really expects to work: or something that Londoners could actually use.

As it turns out, project planners seem quite serious about Farrell's St. Giles Circus — Holborn Crossroads — Holborn Circus project.

Trees, Umbrellas, and No Fences in the Streeet

(From Architects Journal, used w/o permission.)

Judging from those before-and-after pictures from the Architects Journal article, it looks like Farrell's idea is to take some of the fences out of the street, add trees, and set up a sidewalk cafe or two.

The sidewalk cafe may or may not work out; the trees look nice, but will need watering; and — how did anyone think that putting fences in a street was a good idea in the first place?!

No matter. Another four years, and at least one London street can be used as a street again. That's progress, the Lemming supposes.

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David Torkington said...

Not the pretty part of Holborn...further up the Kingsway is the Church of SS Anselm & Cecilia where I am giving my Lenten talks. It's a nice part of town and down the side alley from the church is Gray's Inn, one of the Inn's of Court. But welcome the changes at Holborn circus

Brian Gill said...

Thank you, David Torkington, for an 'insider's' look at London.

And - sorry it took so long to respond. I'd allowed checking this blog's comments to slip of the 'to do' list.

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