Renewal of a Modernist Town
In 2009 OKRA won the prestigious competition for the transformation of Wellesley Road and Park Lane, the main arterial road in Croydon. Croydon’s ambition is to become the third city in London and in order to achieve this change is needed. There is a major gap between the potential of Croydon Metropolitan Centre and the current appearance of the modernist town centre, which is divided by the main road.
The OKRA team focused on transforming Wellesley Road and Park Lane into a green spine, which makes it easier and safer for pedestrians and cyclist cross at street level and is well connected to adjacent green ´urban rooms´. Vehicular movement is rebalanced in favour of pedestrians, cyclists and public transport. Creating a public transport corridor and concentrating parking garages at the North and South entrances drastically reduce the amount of asphalt. Spacious pedestrian pavements and activating ground level frontages encourages a rich, active and healthy urban life. East west pedestrian crossings, connections to public transport nodes and diverse planting and trees creates a new image of Croydon Metropolitan Centre.
The ´Chrysalis´ plan unfolds a strategy of how the now desolated area can be revealed as a butterfly. Through smaller initial interventions there is evidence of change and that a start of the transformation is already underway. The Lansdowne link, for example, provides new access from East Croydon railway station towards the High Street. Gradually the project will be executed from the South to the North and the area will be reshaped into a lively centre.