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Brick Lane as a street of dreams and opportunities: intensifying and strengthening the neighbourhood using a small-scale mix of housing, workplaces and services
Brick Lane as a street of dreams and opportunities: intensifying and strengthening the neighbourhood using a small-scale mix of housing, workplaces and services

Sketches of possible developments on three wide-ranging sites that differ in morphology, development type, programme and ownership situation
Sketches of possible developments on three wide-ranging sites that differ in morphology, development type, programme and ownership situation

The ideal-typical Brick Lane block is based on the current spatial and programmatic logic in the neighbourhood. The block observes a number of design rules and acts as a design handle.
The ideal-typical Brick Lane block is based on the current spatial and programmatic logic in the neighbourhood. The block observes a number of design rules and acts as a design handle.

Brick Lane is an indispensible link between the City and the very densely populated area to the east. The prevailing planning approach is targeted at compaction and takes the form of extending the City in the direction of Brick Lane. The opportunities currently offered by existing qualities and circumstances are deployed in this alternative development strategy to both compact and strengthen the neighbourhood.
Brick Lane is an indispensible link between the City and the very densely populated area to the east. The prevailing planning approach is targeted at compaction and takes the form of extending the City in the direction of Brick Lane. The opportunities currently offered by existing qualities and circumstances are deployed in this alternative development strategy to both compact and strengthen the neighbourhood.

Collage of Truman Square – the car park of a former brewery transmutes into a public plaza within a block given over to a combination of dwelling, study and work.
Collage of Truman Square – the car park of a former brewery transmutes into a public plaza within a block given over to a combination of dwelling, study and work.

Collage of Coriander Garden – the Coriander Club draws Bangladeshi women out of their isolated position by growing vegetables and giving cooking lessons. In this block, public 'residual space' makes a place on Coriander Garden and the buildings around it for small-scale industry.
Collage of Coriander Garden – the Coriander Club draws Bangladeshi women out of their isolated position by growing vegetables and giving cooking lessons. In this block, public 'residual space' makes a place on Coriander Garden and the buildings around it for small-scale industry.

Collage of Whitechapel Gallery Courtyard – a vacant lot directly behind the famous Whitechapel Gallery creates the space to reinstate a former alleyway, linked to which is an assortment of dwelling types. The blank wall of the gallery gets an informal entrance, a café and a display window for exhibiting work by local artists.
Collage of Whitechapel Gallery Courtyard – a vacant lot directly behind the famous Whitechapel Gallery creates the space to reinstate a former alleyway, linked to which is an assortment of dwelling types. The blank wall of the gallery gets an informal entrance, a café and a display window for exhibiting work by local artists.




PROJECTINDEX
 
BRICK LANE, STREET OF DREAMS AND OPPORTUNITIES
Rotterdamse Academie van Bouwkunst
URBAN DESIGN

A development strategy to intensify the urban area illustrated by three sites east of the City in London
As an intensely urban area, Brick Lane forms an indispensible link between the City, London's business and financial centre, and the very densely populated area to the east. My development strategy is rooted in the current spatial and programmatic logic of a small-scale mix of uses. From there I developed an ideal-typical Brick Lane block that acts as a design handle. I then sketched possible developments for three wide-ranging sites. Vacant lots, car parks and public 'residual space' make places for activities that belong in the neighbourhood without the need for demolition. This development can be set in train by working together with the landowner (in some cases the authorities) and assorted mostly small local parties. Current policy is targeted at compaction and takes the form of expanding the City on a few large-scale development sites. This planning process ignores the valuable though vulnerable neighbourhood round Brick Lane. There is no place in it for the cultural historical richness, the socioeconomic problems and the potentials held out by the small-scale industry on site. The pressure on land prices is immense and neighbourhood activity looks likely to be limited to office hours only. However, protests by residents and other players against the prevailing planning approach, and against the financial-economic crisis, clear the way for my alternative development strategy. This calls for intensifying what is a valuable neighbourhood by making use of a great many small-scale development sites. The opportunities currently offered by existing qualities and circumstances are deployed to compact the neighbourhood and strengthen it at the same time.