The hoarding comes off to reveal the new look of London’s Trafalgar Square today as architect Sir Norman Foster’s World Squares masterplan finally makes its debut after seven years in development.
The north side of the public space in the heart of London has been pedestrianised and steps introduced to link the square with the National Gallery. High-quality granite and brass – for the handrails – are the main materials used in a design that echoes the square’s classical style and is generally ‘very minimal’, according to Foster & Partners partner Seymour de Grey.
The work includes Foster-designed street furniture and a cafÃ© and public toilet facility under the National Gallery terrace. De Grey says Foster & Partners is now also ‘at an early stage’ in devising a ‘comprehensive information system’ to aid pedestrian connections between the square and attractions such as Tate Modern.
Steps pierce the back wall of the square, connecting the National Gallery to an area synonymous with Nelson’s Column and pigeons. The design also includes two glass lifts for disabled access between the square’s lower and upper levels. ‘The fundamental purpose is to make the square better for Londoners, opening it up for people to use,’ says de Grey.
Foster & Partners was first appointed after an international competition organised by the Government Office for London in 1996.