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Blackfriars Market Interchange

Part 2 Project 2009
Ben Whitehead
University of Brighton | UK
The Blackfriars Market Interchange readdresses the balance of market systems within the city of London by integrating a market network within a transport interchange.

By exploring the changing impact of markets on the City of London, the need for both hierarchical markets, which trade products through the population, and networked markets trade virtually, was established. By readdressing this balance the city site can allow for economic flexibility and can re-imbed itself into a local market network throughout the City that will sustain the population of both locals and commuters.
The scheme was developed through the creation of two key models; The Transport Network Model , which plotted the interweaving transport routes through a 3d grid overlaid onto the site; and the Carved Massing Model, which was formed by extracting the UDP protected views from a series of massing options. The resulting hybrid model achieved a suitable level of density whilst allowing the transport routes to pass through and connect. This also allowed for the creation of a series of public spaces within the St Paul's Viewing Corridor.

The final proposal was for a linked Stock Trading Floor and Food Market supported and linked by the new Blackfriars Transport Interchange. The series of interchange transport lines are wrapped in ‘Active Skins’; each developed according to the spatial requirements of each transport type. The station skin bristles in motion with each arrival and departure as the station envelope opens and closes according to the movement of the trains below, allowing for the ventilation of the platforms.

The dynamic skins are also applied to the South facing elevation of the Stock Exchange creating a series of skins that adjust for solar shading. At night these screens then display market information to the commuters and market traders below. The Stock exchange therefore becomes visibly more open to the passing commuters and shoppers. The food market below is itself sustained by products passing through the transport interchange. Using the existing bridge columns as craning points, the products are transferred between the river, the trains and the market.

Ben Whitehead

Ben Whitehead's (Part 2, University of Brighton, 2008/09) Blackfriars Market Interchange at Blackfriars in London creatively interleaves transport, social and cultural networking into a programme for a suitably dense and dynamic new Thames crossing that fuses/cross-programmes historic cultural archetypes with contemporary material and technological developments. Ben's immaculately and thoroughly drawn proposal also undertakes a deeper interrogation into the relationship between the image and the conventions of architectural language – in particular, the plan, section and elevation. He resolves these fundamental aspects with uncharacteristic aplomb that eschew style for substance without sacrifice to either his agenda or ambition.

Positioning fruit and vegetable sellers alongside futures and derivatives traders provides an apt contemporary commentary and, at the same time, is a fascinating and provocative combination serving both industries (with their necessary ties to transport and the latter also for its extended connections with food producers) while providing an overdue update of Bernard Tschumi’s ‘event’ space. Ben’s wide array of material investigations ties the technologies of the project’s programme with the adjacent environment through a creative slippage whose resonances are apparent throughout the different layers and scales of the project.

Dr Christopher Pierce
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