Three shortlisted Waterloo Square concepts unveiled

The subways and pedestrian labyrinths around London’s Waterloo station could be eradicated and transformed into a ground-level streetscape, under design concepts to be unveiled later this week.

Design Week can reveal that the three shortlisted concepts in the Waterloo City Square competition, which could yield work for graphics, retail, interior and product designers, are by architects DSDHA, EDAW and Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands.

Lab Architecture, which was also shortlisted in August from around 25 entries, has withdrawn from the competition.

The prospects for design work would depend on the capabilities of the architect and on developers taking a stake in the project, says Peter Bishop, chairman of the Waterloo City Square judging panel. ‘The teams we shortlisted are expected to have the capabilities to deliver on everything, but other types of design could well be bought in,’ he adds.

He explains the concepts – which yielded an honorary sum of £7000 for the designers – had to resolve navigation and trafficflow issues, and hold up the cultural importance of the South Bank area. ‘The scheme has to unlock the potential of the area, which runs from the river right through to The Cut and The Old Vic. The proposals arbitrate between station interchange, the flows of pedestrians, cyclists, public transport and private vehicles,’ says Bishop.

DSDHA’s concept is based on the idea of instinctively walking at ground level. Under its plans the British Film Institute Imax cinema would be given a new street-level entrance, while a seamless streetscape and square would connect buildings by the station.

EDAW’s existing proposal, which also involves closing subways, diverts the road system to run east of the Imax, creating a forecourt to Waterloo station. ‘Clear pedestrian routes’ with ‘vistas’ would replace underpasses, and make allowances for a potential landmark build ing on the site.

LDS’ concept would see the alignment of Waterloo Bridge with Waterloo Road – a move it argues would open a ‘continu ous and coherent route’ fronted by shops and bus stops. The area would be bordered by ‘five pocket parks’ marking out key buildings. This proposal also allows for the redevel opment of the Imax, should it be rehoused in a new BFI complex.

All three proposals will be discussed at a public consulta – tion hosted by the South Bank Employers Group on 31 January. The judging panel will meet again to consider the concepts in light of the outcome of the consultation.

A decision is expected in March.

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