Farringdon is rapidly becoming another carbon copy station district, with all the usual suspects retailers and franchise businesses already moved in. Small and Medium sized businesses can no longer afford to rent in London and the ones that can enter a competitive market for space.
Inevitably this leads to arrival of the larger retail and food chains in the city. Office space is more likely to go to a bigger corporate enterprise than the start up company looking to assert itself within the city.As most commercial leases for small business in London are on average under 5 years, this mirrors the average length of a’fast-track’ construction site in London.
The concept is to entice developers to rent commercial space on a construction site that is safe and accessible by the public. The reduced rents are VAT exempt as they do not fall in the standard lease terms. The idea is to allow small businesses an opportunity to grow in a central London location.
Currently commercial development drives change in the city. Allowing a program such as this enables the city to be developed beyond just commercial value. Injecting positive activity in to a tense atmosphere such as a construction site, can create a new method of development. The intention is not to fight gentrification or developers. It is to introduce an additional element that will mutually benefit investors, small businesses, the community and the city.
Inhabiting major temporary works on a construction site.
Overall view of the project concept.
Protective hoarding surrounds 50 Farringdon Road during demolition. The hoarding is inhabited by small businesses enterprises immediately.
Excavation continues under the track while the Metropolitan and Network Rail lines remain open. The reinforcement of the Victorian infrastructure surrounding the track opens up new spaces for ad-hoc development.
As Sections of the fleet sewer are removed and diverted for new foundation piles to be inserted, additional space becomes available. Space outside the masterplan, that does not carry the same corporate value as the ground floor street level is available for the small enterprises. Hackers, hot deskers, locksmiths and laundromats, among others, have the opportunity to occupy a central London space at reasonable rents.
The underpinning of the Victorian arches for the foundations of the new building, coupled with the trench for the fleet diversion, opens up new access to the subterranean level of the site. The hoarding extends down here opening up public access and space for small businesses.
Section during the construction phase.
Businesses have used the construction site as an incubator to develop over 5 years in a central London location with high pedestrian traffic.
Exploring spaces during construction.