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The Iris
The Iris | © EPR Architects, Martin Richman, Wayfindr, Modus Operandi, Gillespies, Entuitive, Materials Council, Stage One
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Have Your Say on the Redesign of London's Iconic Old Street Roundabout

Picture of Charlotte Luxford
Home & Design Editor
Updated: 21 February 2018
A longlist of 39 design teams has been selected as part of a competition to completely transform the roundabout at Old Street in London into a new ‘iconic gateway’ and public space.

From February 12 to March 2, Londoners can head over to the public exhibition at 2–4 Old Street Yard, (just behind the brand-new White Collar Factory by AHMM), to view the proposals that will replace the ‘outdated and intimidating’ 1960s roundabout.

A New Old Street: Where Promenade Meets Playground | © Shedkm, Uniform and BCA Landscape

The design teams selected so far range from the world-renowned Zaha Hadid Architects and Hawkins\Brown, which is currently working on the Crossrail 1 Elizabeth Line, to set designer Es Devlin, who’s created backdrops for the likes of Kanye West, U2 and Lady Gaga, and Paul Cocksedge Studio, which has worked on a variety of large and small projects for the likes of the V&A, BMW, London Design Festival and NHS.

Ed Devlin
Es Devlin’s design for the contest | Courtesy of Islington Council

Islington Council’s Executive Member for Environment and Transport Claudia Webbe said: ‘Old Street is an iconic location, and its transformation will hugely improve the area for pedestrians, public transport users, cyclists and people who live and work nearby.

‘We have had huge interest in our design open call, and the public exhibition is a chance to have your say on the creation of an exciting, bold, iconic gateway – 39 innovative and inspiring ideas set out in one place, so you can help to shape the future of Old Street.’

The Iris | © EPR Architects, Martin Richman, Wayfindr, Modus Operandi, Gillespies, Entuitive, Materials Council, Stage One

The competition is part of a wider plan to completely reorganise the Old Street interchange roads in order to make it ‘a safer, more pleasant layout for people’ and to ‘improve the urban environment and quality of air within the public space’.

The ‘Open Call for Design Ideas’, which has been organised by Islington Council, in association with nearby Hackney Council, Transport for London and the Mayor of London, saw a huge 120 registrations of interest before it was whittled down to 39. The brief was for an ‘innovative’ solution to rejuvenate the junction that would embrace the spirit of the ‘Silicon Roundabout‘ (named after the the number of startups clustered within the EC1V postcode), while also encompassing public art.

zaha hadid
Zaha Hadid Architects’ proposed design | © ZHA

The so-called new ‘iconic gateway’ will be funded by Islington council and works will begin on TfL’s already-planned changes for the roundabout later this year. These transformations include the permanent closure of the north-western ‘arm’ of the roundabout, which will free up space to create an attractive new pedestrianised area, plus two new entrances to the Underground will be created and segregated cycle lanes will be introduced, along with the re-introduction of two-way traffic.

Mae’s ‘Tech Tower’ design | © Mae

Councillor Feryal Demirci, Hackney Council Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, Transport and Parks, added: ‘Old Street is a busy and dangerous area for pedestrians and cyclists, and I’m looking forward to work starting so that the junction can be made safer for everyone.’

Once the public consultation has taken place, the judging panel will then take into consideration the public feedback and will announced a shortlist of the best ideas in late March.

coffey architects
Coffey Architects ‘cloud’ proposal | © Coffey Architects

To view the public exhibition, visit 2–4 Old Street Yard (1st Floor, Building 3), London EC1Y 8AF (behind the White Collar Factory). The exhibition will be open weekdays between February 12 and March 2, from 12pm – 6pm. To see all the longlisted proposals, click here.