Old meets new in this challenging scheme which pieces together the intricate patterns of facades and historic streetscape of Shoreditch High Street, with a new and contemporary office and hotel block, designed for the 21st Century.
Continuing the rhythm of Shoreditch
This new mixed-use scheme spans three buildings, and creates non-uniform and authentic workspaces for single or multiple tenants, alongside new ground floor retail, and a boutique hotel component. The bulk of the massing is set behind, and stacked above three retained historic façades of architectural and townscape merit, ‘book-ending’ the structures and continuing the historic rhythm of the Shoreditch High Street. A new internal courtyard will be introduced into the heart of the development, creating a new permeable layout which opens up the buildings to street and connects to the existing street pattern, while also completing the final part of the larger Principal Place campus nearby. The three historic buildings will be refurbished and enhanced, and opened up for the enjoyment of the community. These include the former Crown and Shuttle pub, a legacy of the Huguenot influence on Shoreditch, with its decorative façade which will be restored to its former glory. Another historic structure on the site, the former Light Bar, will also be retained and reimagined as an integrated feature within the reception of a new 10 storey mixed use building
Establishing the envelope
The new building envelope comprises an interlocking masonry base with a contemporary stacked extension above and behind the retained facades. The extension relates to two scales – one which frames Shoreditch High Street, and another which is a marriage of scales to align with Bowl Court behind, and nearby neighbouring buildings of varying heights and scales. The scheme is designed to be a sympathetic contemporary insertion, which also acts as a backdrop to enhance the retained fabric, with its form and materials helping to blend the new development into its context.
Linking old and new
The new scheme is envisaged as a ‘stitching’ element between old, using the same devices and language of the historic buildings in a contemporary way. The new building’s façade for example, traces its geometry back to the retained fabric and has a finer vertical articulation at its height increases, to reference the ornate feathering towards the top of the retained historic facades. Similarly, a horizontal street grain running through to the corner of the plot was introduced to the new building, with strongly defined cornice lines, similar to the historic facades. A similarly purposeful new corner building also continues the datum of the existing retail units at ground level.
Expression and Articulation
The stacked arrangement of the new building, which rises above the retained structures is designed to reinforce the playful arrangement of different building scales found on Shoreditch High Stret. The scheme takes the existing vertical rhythm of the street as a starting point and uses horizontal datums struck into the massing of the interlocking contemporary extension to create the illusion of a ‘shuffling’ façade dynamic. This device is intended as a visual reference to the Huguenot legacy of weaving, and is inspired by the idea of the movement of the shuttle on the loom, and the orthogonal arrangement of the fabric or threads. The ‘fabric’ is represented by different expressions within the facade, which are also echoed by the different arrangement of historic facades at street level below.
Breaking down the massing
Shoreditch lies on the fringes of the City of London and its growing collection of tall buildings, and is an area predominantly home to a varying mix of mid to low rise buildings heights. The playful arrangement of different building scales found at street level has inspired the stacked arrangement of the new building, which is a contemporary interpretation of how the taller buildings along Shoreditch High Street, such as 201-20, are broken down to create interest and to reduce the perception of scale.
The bulk of the new building's massing comprises seven storeys of stacked recessed blocks, before transitioning up to its full height of ten. The new building also includes an additional horizontal break to further reduce the perception of scale and to ensure a smooth transtion downwards from the City high-rises, to the smaller scale buildings along Shoreditch High Street. To the north, the building transitions down to four storeys to maintain a consistent three storey step around the building, scaling even further downwards towards the rear to mirror the height of the smaller buildings to the back on Bowl Court.