High Road Leyton
client: Waltham Forest Council, budget: £920K, str. engineer: Jampel Davison & Bell, contractors: Fullers Builders, Bennett Developments, Peter Loe Restorations, McElligott Building, photographs: Morley von Sternberg, highly commended Regeneration & Renewal Award 2012, Best Town Centre Project winner London Planning Award, Civic Trust Community Recognition, Best Public Realm Scheme winner Waltham Forest Design Awards, phase 1 with GVA & East
A well-designed high street serves the needs of a contemporary retail environment but it also celebrates a local identity, an area’s customs, traditions and idiosyncrasies. In an endeavor to engage with the place we have devised a design strategy that puts retention over replacement and creative repair over renewal. The result is a unique and site-specific design approach that combines the old with the new and the traditional with the innovative.
The high street is a fluctuant entity. Shops change ownership, vendors change business models, new services are offered and old lines of trade are discontinued. The ability to accommodate change is at the heart of our thinking. Shopfronts are conceived to allow for easy re-branding, are adaptable and can be repaired and up-graded by local craftsmen. Urban design works best where the high street as a whole is as important as the detail of every individual shopfront. Our project in Leyton works at a number of scales and respects the area’s history, serves it’s contemporary needs and allows room for future adaptation. We think of sustainability primarily as a social phenomenon. An architecture that is specific to the needs of its occupants and well anchored in the local community but has the ability to evolve and change as needs change and evolve will serve its purpose for many years to come.
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