As large corporate buildings are taking over cities, the need for a better planning of public spaces has been observed. Interventions in the inter-building urban spaces were required to create a less hostile environment not only for passers-by but also for corporate employees. Regent’s Place Pavilion is an outstanding example of such intervention.
The Pavilion is located on the newly created western exit of Regent’s Place, a commercial realm developed by British Land, consisting of 1.1 million square feet of office, retail and leisure spaces. The Pavilion is the most recent addition to a vast series of installations and pieces of urban art exposed around Regent’s Place, all contributing to the creation of an inspirational environment. They all represent a run away from the monotonous decor of large corporate buildings.
The Pavilion was designed and built by the architectural practice Carmody Groarke working along with engineers from Arup, after British Land organised a competition to commission a piece of art to animate the area. In terms of structure, the Pavilion is formed of 258 stainless steel rods, each of them reaching 7.8 m in height, with an Area of only 50mm2 and 4 mm thickness of walls. A 3 mm stiff roof is placed on top of the rods, where a cut-through offers a sky-view perfectly framed by the surrounding buildings. This successfully integrates the pavilion within the surrounding area, making it “part of” rather “part from” the surroundings.
According to its creators, the pavilion “encourages an interaction both in terms of view but also movement by turning the grain of the pavilion to 45 degrees”. When people walk along the pavilion, they are encouraged to cross the steel maze diagonally rather than just admire and pass by the structure. This is also enhanced by the placement of ground-level LEDs, thoughtfully placed to direct people on specific routes. Its solitaire structure makes the pavilion approachable form all sides, offering access to a generous leisure space provided with a seating area.
The pavilion reaches its aim of animating the surroundings and it is an enhancer of the urban experience.
Awards: 2010 RIBA London Award,
Nominated for RIBA CABE
Public Space Award
Images: Simina Marin (Left); Youngmin Sohn (Right) (pending permission)