urban design and masterplanning
On 8th July 2014, following the recommendation of the Inspector at the Public Inquiry, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, rejected proposals for the building of new office blocks at Smithfield General Market, which would have retained only parts of the façades. This decision not only saves Smithfield General Market and its magnificent market halls, but also has wider implications for the built environment and planning.
John Burrell’s visionary drawings first revealed the full splendour and scale of the lofty domed and vaulted market halls, also showing the vast extent of the basements which run not only under the buildings but also under the streets between and around. They show how the market halls could be attractive public spaces naturally lit by abundant sunlight, making use of the original ventilation system to keep the building cool in summer. They also revealed the engineering importance of the original iron structure with its tall patent Phoenix columns that, being of a much greater height than the typical Victorian cast iron column, create exceptionally large spans.