Our design to transform the iconic Old Street Roundabout in Islington has been successfully longlisted for the Old Street Iconic Gateway ‘Open Call for Design Ideas’ exhibition, which will run from 12 Feb to 2 March.
Our design idea, "Hello, World!" is directly inspired by Old Street’s Tech City, and integrates elements of public art, technology and innovation. The proposal converts an unused space into a destination that seeks to use technology to bring people together, fostering social face-to-face interactions.
The core of our idea will be familiar to any programmer, developer, hacker and school child. Like learning ‘Bonjour!’, “Hello, World!” is the first communication of a global programming language as well as an idea that aims to embody the tech heritage of ‘Silicon Roundabout’ while broadcasting London’s new public hub of technology. This idea will take the form of a large digital globe, 15 meters in diameter, presenting content and interactive information, allowing the Old Street Iconic Gateway to connect with people and ideas from across the world.
Our proposed design will create a stimulating and inclusive space where people from all walks of life can engage with digital media and technology by connecting to the digital globe via an app and interact with those worldwide.
The globe will be able to display a huge range of information including weather, news, travel information and free international broadcasts (e.g. royal wedding, World Cup, Olympics, etc). Adverts will be shown on the globe, thereby retaining advertising revenue. The local community of start-ups and tech companies will be encouraged to take the lead in the development of programming and content, promoting collaboration and innovation.
The existing clerestory roof above the underground station will hold the globe aloft. The area under the globe will be landscaped with planting along the steps and roof, and its location will allow it to be viewed from different perspectives, including from the proposed terraced seating above the new underground entrance. The amphitheater feature in the east side will also be an additional point for gathering and viewing.
Sustrans design for Old Street Roundabout
In line with the London Borough of Islington’s commitment to Healthy Streets, the design proposed includes greening, additional places to sit and rest, and an improved environment for cycle parking. Trees are strategically placed around the peninsula to mitigate the impact of pollution and noise while providing needed shelter. Space for market stalls is created to encourage new local businesses, support the local economy and allow a flexible use of space. New cycle parking is installed to enable cyclists to use the space and prevent vehicle entry to the peninsula.
A promenade of light would seamlessly extend all the way to the entrance of the station, with planting and strip LED lighting creating clear pedestrian circulation routes. The cross-hatched paving pattern is a visual representation of the four arms leading into the Old Street Iconic Gateway, reflecting the heritage of the roundabout as a crossroads.
Our design for Islington could create a landmark destination in its own right, transforming the Old Street Iconic Gateway from a heavily trafficked roundabout into a public hub of the East London Tech City.
What happens next?
The public exhibition runs from 12 Feb to 2 March 2018, at 1st floor, 3 Old Street Yard, EC1Y 8AF. Using feedback from the community received during the exhibition, a judging panel will shortlist the best design ideas for announcement during week commencing 19 March 2018.