urban design and masterplanning

Smithfield Market

Smithfield Market

 

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.

 
 
 
 
The significance of what Pickles has done... will stretch into the future and go far beyond Smithfield or the capital itself. For it says all buildings in conservation areas enjoy protection. Pickles... turned the tide of demolition sanctioned by the City and by London’s mayor, Boris Johnson, in which, until now, anything went. They have revalued heritage within the planning system for decades to come.
— Charles Clover, The Sunday Times
 
 

 

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.