New Street Square was built for Land Agencies, by architects Bennetts Associates, originally there was a plan for a large single building on the is site but the growing sustainability issues and the ongoing quest for the best working environments lead the developer to seek a new architect and design. This significant development is in the ‘mid-town’ area of the City and is between the Fleet Street and High Holborn, when I first visited the site, I took a back road of Chancery Lane, and came across the square quite by surprise as the striking new architecture towered 18 floors above me. The height of the buildings I was completely unaware of initially as the ground floor of the buildings are mostly shops, eateries and restaurants, so they grab your attention and stop you from looking up at the tower block. The site is made up to 4 tower blocks of varying heights and a much smaller building, with an interesting ‘green wall’, more about that to follow, that surround a traditional square.
The square is accessed by quite narrow, the smallest being 6 metres, passages between the buildings, one covered, and it is interesting the routes that people take through the square on the way from the office to buy lunch or a coffee or on their way home. This study of people’s paths through the site will be published here shortly. The square is a very nice place to be and although surrounded by buildings, does not feel claustrophobic at any time, there are places to sit, a water feature, grass and 3 trees. The tallest building is to the North and the smallest to the South, giving maximum sunlight penetration to the square. A very important feature of the office space is that all the floors on all the buildings are at the same height, so a larger company perhaps moving into the building can have a passageway connecting the floors of two buildings, making this a very flexible working environment.
When visiting the new street square Building my opening reaction was the attention of the varied materials they had taken forward to the design. This was achieved by a yet historical and blending in environment of the surroundings that the building was targeted towards and most important it delivered a simplistic aspect of design in the future which they discovered within the spaces and circulations of the public and designs they had to overcome to match this solution.
Which I suppose they have achieved a great sense of direction and contemporary styles so as to the blending in with other Victoria designs. However the use of materials and problems they had to tackle to have a welcoming environmental but yet contemporary in gaze within, I consider this was archived by a colour format of glass, stone steel and yet a cutting edge design but most of all what was interesting was the growing green wall which I believe delivers great senses of freedom and a vibrant destination for the public circulating the spaces that’s provided within the design of the buildings around it and the building itself.
Nevertheless the companies based on the buildings have great senses of beneficial use for the public and workers as the city centre runs through the spaces providing shops and public open spaces that desire to maximise sunlight within, as the architects have approached a varying heights of blocks and general designs, so sunlight can enter the spaces in a specific way through the day giving sunlight to other buildings around it and yet creating a busy and energetic destination for the public and workers that circulate within the spaces.