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The physical barrier that is the viaduct structure dictates that vehicular traffic domi- This urban regeneration proposal addresses the idea of completely opening up the
nates the landscape through the tunnels on Southwark Bridge Road and Great four archways on the site to encourage pedestrian movement through them, rather
Gilford Street with pedestrian movement highly restrictive. When considering than around them in avoidance. Thus, the barrier is to be transformed into an invit-
America Street viaduct’s immediate context, the four boundary corners are wholly ing asset whereby the north and south sides are physically connected and united
unappealing, neglected and deprived of imagination, adding further armoury to the in identity and character.
psychological and social barrier between north and south.
Imposing Barrier New pedestrian movement
The abstract form and steel cladding/glass treatment
adds a highly sculptural quality to the environment
that aims to draw the eye from passers by. Striking in
appearance and contrasting with the 19th Century
exposed brickwork of the curved arches, the sharp-
edged follies are wrapped in gold-coloured steel tiles
(each with a variance in tile patterning) and exemplify
a confident and highly contemporary architectural
solution. The underside and facades of the archways
are to be left as exposed brickwork, cleaned and
sealed and will become apparent in the shimmering
reflection of the steel surfaces.
Glass openings sit flush with or extrude from the
units to open up views between the inside and out,,
articulating the environment in such a way as to allow
for the interplay between interior, architectural and
urban relationships. A series of linked areas and ac-
tivities on different levels are formed generating van-
tage points; an environment of intrigue, excitement
and exploration - a built environment that is wholly
modern and cutting edge whilst also referencing the
The demolition of existing buildings within the boundary lines would be vital to fully Labelled ‘Golden Links’ this scheme will comprise of four prefabricated follies inde-
maximize the site’s potential as a highly desirable destination point which reflects pendent from the viaduct structure, whose form pierce the arches extending
the needs of the area and further supports local businesses. In doing so it paves the outwards into the public realm to open up a host of exploratory paths and spatial
way for a new, safe and attractive public realm comprised of open, permeable experiences in this contemporary urban forest.
public spaces and architectural integration that would enhance and protect it’s char-
acter and benefit the wider conservation area.
Public Realm Expansion Golden Links
The surface treatments on the plazas will be a wooden decking system. Applied with the emphasis put on the
directional qualities of the timber planks, this will firstly assist in accentuating the perspective and dynamics of
the architectural forms and thus draw the eye through and encourage journeys wthin this built environment.
Secondly it will provide a material balance and sense of stability to the combination of 19th century brick and
21st century steel cladding. In doing so the public realm softens up and supports the introduction of greening
areas to roof gardens; shrubbery/glades and trees added to the plaza level with street furniture dotted around
several intimate openings.
At night, the site will take on a different atmosphere with soft under lighting lifting the follies from the plaza sur-
face. Lit artificially, the steel cladding will have a different appearance to during the daytime and will create
splashes of shimmering light throughout the archways (which will also be artificially lit with wall washing on the
brickwork) to be both inviting and safe for users. Furthermore, LED feature lighting embedded as strips in the
wood decking will further add dynamic quality to the environment at night.
The Bankside area has an informed identity with the arts, cultural and bohemian
activities - independent galleries, theatre, market place, studios, etc. Identified on
the map, it is clear the majority of these are located close the Thames river with a
far less concentrated presence South of the railway viaduct.
Creative Community Key Cultural Hotspots
Purdy Hicks Gallery
Clink Prison Museum
Tate Modern Glaziers Hall
Young Vic Theatre
1 - Cafe
2 - Lounge
11. 3 - Dining
4 - Bookshop
5 - Kitchen
6 - Toilets
13. 7 - Studio
7. 8 - Flower boutique
9 - Gallery
10 - Bar
11 - Retail
12 - Sandwich bar
7. 13 - Toilets
The proposed America Street site sits in a geographically ideal position for the Viaduct regeneration projects (high-lighted in yellow) over the past few years have
creation of a strong cultural link between these hotspots from both the north and made a notably positive impact upon the public realm in and around the Bankside
south sides of the viaduct. It would positively enhance the cultural path, extending area. However, there is still a clear area of neglect between Southwark Bridge
it further south and encouraging visitors to explore and discover new environments Road and Blackfriars Road which provides a prime opportunity to reactivate the
in the Bankside area, whilst becoming a destination zone in it’s own right. streets by introducing news uses for the land underneath the railway to form a
vibrant new and better connected zone.
America Street Viaduct Viaduct Regeneration
America Street Viaduct
As highlighted through the urban analysis, the Golden Links proposal will identify with and reflect
the needs of the area on both a cultural and business development level. The identity of the units
will be aligned with the creative industries and consist of diverse uses and activities for studio
space for small businesses (design, media, fashion, graphics, etc); independent retailers (textiles,
jewellery, lighting, product, furniture, gardening, books); gallery space (exhibition, seminar, cat-
walk, theatre, performance) hospitality areas (cafe, restaurant, lounge, bar) and open intercon-
nected plazas. It will provide the surrounding area with a social and commercially viable creative
hub to help stimulate urban renewal whilst also challenging preconceived notions of how we nor-
mally interpret the uncompromising nature of these 19th century structures.
Adding further to the notion of an urban forest, rather than hide the dominant viaduct this proposal
embraces it’s qualities by carefully integrating a 21st century approach to create an open and
inviting asset for our contemporary needs. The activities of the different spaces are intrinsically
linked by their creative nature and support the idea of a collective project based on shared princi-
ples and ideologies, bringing high quality improvements to the public realm and increasing oppor-
tunities for social engagement.
Immediately apparent was the need to enhance and maximize the southern side of the viaduct
which would involve the removal of a building on the corner of Southwark Bridge Road and Union
Street, allowing for the protrusion of follies onto the urban landscape and public space. Secondly,
the pedestrianism of America Street (only open to access for servicing vehicles for the Links and
offices opposite) to create an inviting plaza with greening opportunities and entry points for the
buildings. Furthermore, the relocation of existing viaduct occupants and removal of additional
brickwork extensions on the America Street side are also necessary to fully utilize and extend the
The architectural plans are conceived in such a way as to firstly create a physical link to both north
and south plazas, helped by the protruding vibrant facades that reach out from the archway struc-
tures. Secondly, they open up a series of diverse, inviting and safe avenues for visitors and users
to explore and embrace the re-activation of connections under the railway.
Retail space will consist of five units at 20-25sqm
and one unit covering a ground and connected first
floor of 100sqm. As indicated will be most appropri-
ate for use by small independent set up companies
that do not require large scale interior and display
furnishings. The northern most unit will house a
take-out sandwich bar to service the Links users and
guests as well as local offices.
The six studio spaces will be ideal for young, upcom-
ing designers/artists with limited budgets for rent,
suitable for use by 1-3 people in spaces of 20sqm.
The 140sqm gallery would be a minimally designed
interior - a blank canvas - to offer flexibility for a wide
range of uses from exhibitions to performances with
the roof garden to be utilized as a further extension
for such needs.
A bar will form a continuation of the gallery with an
interior space of 70sqm, a roof garden connected to
the gallery at 1st floor level and a spill out zone onto
the south plaza.
The hospitality zone will comprise of a cafe (60sqm),
dinning (60sqm) and lounge (60sqm) connected by
a triple level atrium. This space will also form part of
the 100sqm adjoining book store so as to encourage
a crossover of social engagement and provide fur-
ther retail support.