Combined teams of urban designers and architects from Fletcher Priest are working for Transport for London on a series of railway arch projects across London. The first of these, at Wood Lane, has just been granted planning permission.
The Wood Lane proposal will see 31 disused railway arches converted into retail and business units and public spaces to create links and visual permeability across White City. London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham praised the scheme, which it said would ‘contribute to the regeneration of the White City Opportunity Area by creating a sense of place and adding to a vibrant mix of uses to stimulate the local economy’.
Fletcher Priest's approach to design and heritage was commended by planners as 'a well-conceived enhancement of the railway viaduct. The units themselves are of high quality design with elegant proportions, good quality materials and integrated external lighting.'
Fletcher Priest describes the overall approach as the creation of a kit of parts that can be adapted for each location. Maximum flexibility is offered through glazing and metal canopies that can be extruded to connect arches by an internal corridor for multi-arch lets, as well as accommodating signage, seating and shelter.
Conversion of the arches will transform what was previously a barrier into a porous landscape, with the dual aspect spaces linking the Westfield shopping centre extension to the south with St James and Berkeley Homes’ residential development at White City to the north.
Altogether 31 arches will be refurbished in two phases. The first phase, due to be completed at the end of 2017 when the John Lewis department store on the Westfield site is set to open, will transform 13 arches into retail use for cafes and small businesses; three arches will be opened up completely to provide landscaped pedestrian routes. A second phase will deliver seven further commercial arches with four additional pedestrian routes.
Fletcher Priest won the project through competitive tender as part of the GLA/TfL ADUP Framework. Their urban design studies cover four strategic areas in diverse locations across London; further sites will be announced in due course.