The City of London has announced OKRA – alongside Hawkins\Brown, Contemporary Art Society, Momentum Transport Consultancy and Studio Dekka Limited – as the winner of the Smithfield Area Public Realm competition. Studio Egret West has been 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. The new public realm will transform the pedestrian experience by replacing some of the existing road networks with new footpaths and landscaping – thus 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 the 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.
Improving public space in London
OKRA has been working for some time on improving public space in and around London. Such as Cutty Sark Gardens, one of the key projects in the Mayor’s Great Spaces initiative for public space, and Meridian Water, one of the largest development areas in North London covering 85 hectares.