David Kohn Architects
39–51 Highgate Road
London NW5 1RT
+44 (0)20 7424 8596 tel
The making of London’s urban fabric is an increasingly intricate process; recent years have been witness to a pronounced proliferation of players involved in the city’s design and development. The studio attempted to map this complexity using the development Bankside 123 on Southwark Street as a precedent. Six central themes were chosen for consideration: working capital, the developer, public policy, organizational structures, environment and civil society. The internal dynamics of each were examined, as well as their respective roles in the production of space and published.
By presenting these multiple actors and processes in tandem, we hope to elucidate unexplored interactions and causalities between them. Throughout the study, fewer conclusions are drawn than questions raised. A primary consideration is Bankside 1’s place in the long term. Both the developer and the architects involved in this development have read the current political and economic situation with great accuracy; commercially, the project is a highly successful one. Yet the building’s very suitability to the current context challenges its feasibility in the future. For instance, there is a distinct trend towards greater environmental sustainability apparent at the policy level; if improved efficiency becomes required of all buildings, it is doubtful whether the structure of Bankside 1 could be adapted accordingly. The potential for shifts in the market pose an equal challenge to the project; the design of the building is such that it could be put to few alternate uses should the demand for office space decrease. Although the financial risks of such a contingency have been safeguarded, there is little evidence to suggest that the implications of such a scenario for the surrounding cityspace have been adequately addressed.
If one conclusion can be drawn, it is that Bankside 1 is paradigmatic of the prevailing development model in London. The particular questions raised in this study can therefore serve as a starting point from which to assess current practices. It is hoped that through a more nuanced understanding of the process, the production of space in London will become increasingly adept at serving those who live within it.
Students: Mark Atkinson, Shibani Bose, April Bovet, Lara-Correia, Mia Datta, Leora Eldan-Berry, Alex Feldman, Moira Gillick, David Hamilton, Cholki Hong, Brooks Huston, Angus Laurie, Sun-Eoi Lee, Gonzalo Li-Perez, Gil Meslin, Sanford Riley, Bridget Snaith, Anne Stevenson, Mike Sutherland, Naoshi Tamaru, Seem Zreigat
Adam Caruso, Adam Khan, David Kohn, Savvas Verdis