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Hawkins\Brown wins Smithfield Area Public Realm competition

The project will transform the pedestrian experience in the wider Smithfield area with new, better connected public spaces and routes.

The City of London has today announced Hawkins\Brown – alongside OKRA, Contemporary Art Society, Momentum and Studio Dekka – as the winner of the Smithfield Area Public Realm competition, with Studio Egret West appointed as lead architect for the Smithfield East & West Market buildings. Both projects will contribute to creating a vibrant, exciting and welcoming new destination within the Culture Mile.

Anticipating thousands more visitors arriving in the area following the opening of the Elizabeth Line, the public realm project will deliver exceptional new public spaces across the whole Smithfield area which runs from Farringdon Street to Aldersgate. The new public realm will transform the pedestrian experience by replacing some of the existing road network with new footpaths and landscaping – creating healthier, well-lit and safer streets, while helping improve air quality by reducing emissions from traffic.

Our proposal responded to the different historic street patterns in the area, taking into consideration surrounding character and uses. It also set up methods for introducing greenery into the area, alongside a healthy streets approach, and designing a spacious and welcoming ‘threshold’ area for the major institutions that will be opening on the site.

We are delighted to be appointed on the transformation of this historic landmark site. This is a unique challenge to reimagine the identity of an entire area for the enjoyment of London’s residents and its visitors. Our initial scheme is based on the idea of the field - returning the area’s lanes and rat-runs into a single identifiable place that provides a range of settings for civic activities. The design of public spaces could really blur boundaries between inside and outside, and redefine how culture is expressed in the public realm. Our practice has been long-time residents of Farringdon and we look forward to revealing the stories and significance it has had for many in the area.

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