London, UK — The illuminated billboards along London’s Piccadilly Circus hide a building that has been sitting empty since the 1950s. That’s about to change after Fletcher Priest Architects was awarded a contract to renovate the buildings that date back to 1910. The formerly derelict location will be transformed into offices, shops and apartments. Most exciting of all: it will be cloaked in glazed ceramic tile.
The architects state that the 24-hour city block attracts more than 100 million people every year. Joining the lights, the studio will grab even more eyes with the ceramic facade. The roof of the building will open up onto terraces that give a view of central London. It’s a way to utilize a historic, but tragically under-used piece of the city’s identity. The studio states:
At the same time as opening up new space, Fletcher Priest proposes to enhance the character of original buildings on the site and improve the public realm. The scheme, which has won plaudits from Westminster Council, solves the jigsaw puzzle of uses and apparently contradictory interests, with a playful, rational approach that belies the complexity of the site. The proposal creates a winter garden behind the Piccadilly Lights, bringing in natural light from above and making the space useable once more. The distinctive folding roof-scape will be made from point mesh covered with thousands of mass-crafted, glazed ceramic mouldings.
Fletcher Priest is a studio with about 100 people who work on significant urban design, architectural, interior, graphic design and research projects. The architects state they work at all scales for a wide range of clients in many sectors. Their portfolio in the UK is mainly concentrated in London and the South East, but with major projects in cities such as Manchester. Outside of the UK, FP are currently working in Germany, the Baltic and Brazil.
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