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City Arcade

location: Bishopsgate Goodsyard, London E1

year: 2000

client: The Architectural Foundation

This is a concept for an urban living, working and leisure building prototype. It was designed for an international competition. Entries were exhibited at London’s Design Museum in 2000.

Horden Cherry Lee’s entry was developed in partnership with Swiss and German designers and contractors, and all entries addressed a major disused site just to the east of the City of London but could be applied elsewhere. Shown here is one element of the concept.

It can be repeated in modules to fill larger sites and aims to establish a pre-fabricated, low-cost, low-energy, high-density urban building form capable of accommodating the widest possible range of uses. Its form derives from European-scale streets and arcades. Its layered elevations refer to the playfulness of the famous Eames House (1945-1949) in Santa Monica, California.

The City Arcade would provide both community and privacy, separated from busy streets and rail lines, with apartments orientated to catch the sun. Lifts, bridges and stairs would animate the enclosed public space and connect public circulation to generous private balconies extending living and private space. Trees and balcony planting would soften the arcades and courtyards. A ‘hobby level’ is located at rooftop level, while the grid frame accommodates services units, photovoltaic cells, gardens, allotments, workshops, party and weekend events, guest rooms or studios – all with great city views.

Cars could be stacked vertically in the scheme, powered by solar cells enclosed in the stacking system, so the ground level space could be maximised for pedestrians, who would be encouraged to use bicycles and public transport. City Arcade was developed with construction industry contributors to use fully pre-fabricated residential units based on a module of 5 metres width – the typical width of a London terraced house. Modules would be delivered within six months to any European city from a central European factory.