Where is the architectural blueprint and vision for a neighbourhood at the forefront of London’s digital revolution?

We asked Peter Murray, Chairman of NLA (London’s Centre For The Built Environment)

London's Centre for The Built Environment“Blueprint?! Vision?! Masterplan!? That’s not how these things work in London! Silicon Roundabout happened because there was NO masterplan. It grew because there were cheap, no nonsense buildings with high ceilings and clear floorplates that suited the pocket and workstyle of new digital companies. These were the sweatshops of the industrial era; in the post-industrial city they became nurseries for growing businesses.”

“When the Prime Minister highlighted the area as a new business centre it had an immediate impact on rents. Today you can pay as much for space in Hoxton as you pay in the City of London. And it meant that developers realised there were opportunities to be had. The owners of the Tea Building and movers and shakers in the world of property for the creative industries, are developing a big site overlooking Old Street roundabout which has been branded as The White Collar Factory of over 200,000 square feet. The good news is that they are picking up on the benefits of the older buildings in the area – high ceilings, basic finishes and openable windows; they’ll be green and efficient and are designed by one of today’s hottest firm of architects who did the Tea Building, Morelands (at the west end of Old Street) and are working on the new, humongous Google HQ at King’s Cross. The other side of town, Canary Wharf has just opened Level 39 – a technology accelerator space on the thirty ninth floor of One Canada Square. The space is a prototype for the sort of workspace the developers want to build when they expand to the east at Wood Wharf, creating a campus more redolent of the West Coast than Shoreditch. Just as the Wharf Mark One is Manhattan-on-Thames, Wood Wharf will be Britain’s Cupertino. Now that will require a masterplan!”

Thank you Peter and good luck on your 6,500km bicycle ride across the US and UK studying the provision of cycling infrastructure in cities along the route.

To find out more about available office property in the Silicon Roundabout area contact Kushner here.

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