Tom Badger: Architecture of the Street


London is a world city. It is simultaneously expanding and contracting, growing ever-outwards – and upwards – yet on the brink of divorce from the neighbouring continent. The next generation of designers must deliver fresh thinking to tackle issues that range from the scale of the street to global climate change. We asked pioneering graduates from the LSA how they’d adapt London to ensure that it is inclusive of its citizens, integrated with nature and fit for the future

Throughout the 20th century the automobile was used as a catalyst for change, reflecting the mechanical and efficient world that architects and urbanists wished to create. It became the symbol of modernist thinking, promising a new age of social and physical mobility. However, it has ultimately failed in these promises, leaving our streets filled with pollution.

The 21st century allows us to rethink these ideals and create new ways of living and operating in the city – with the street being the central forum of this discussion. This project investigates Peckham Road and its surrounding residential streets in South London – an area that contains typical London conditions to be redesigned: housing estate, residential street, and cultural space.

The project is addressed from the perspectives of policy-makers, activists and designers. A design guide has been produced for how to adapt the street to contemporary demands, while the project also proposes redesigning kerbs and road surfaces to be better suited for pedestrianisation along with a series of modular buildings in the street which provide social infrastructure. The scheme also looks at existing housing and infill sites, exploring their relationship with the street.

This vigorous interrogation of our streets strives to provide a compelling alternative to current societal behaviour in relation to the city’s roads.