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Places and movement

The majority of the public realm of a city is used, in some form or other, for getting about. People’s perceptions of a city are influenced by the efficiency, cleanliness and safety of the city's public transport, and also by the quality of the streets, the experience of walking and cycling around a city.

think place specialise in urban design related to transport and we are currently working with Transport for London on a number of schemes that will transform their respective areas of London: the removal of a gyratory to create a new district centre at Vauxhall Cross; a new public square and bus station at Waterloo and the implementation of Terry Farrell’s vision for the Euston Road. Our strategic vison for Victoria (see below) has just been given the go-ahead for detailed engineering design.

This continues a long association practice principal, Garry Colligan, has had with transport, and places associated with transport. He has been involved at Waterloo for 25 years, since leaving university to work on the International Terminus at Waterloo. At Paddington he has prepared masterplans for Railtrack, St. Mary’s Hospital, Chelsfield and North Westminster Community College over a 10 year period.  

When Urban Design Director at Terry Farrell’s, Garry was heavily involved in Terry’s push for a better walking environment in London, collaborating with the Central London Partnership to promote the health and environmental benefits that have since been recognised by policy-makers.  

Here are a couple of examples of the sort of thing we do:

Case study: Strategic Vision for Victoria

Victoria is the second busiest transport interchange in London, accommodating twice as many passengers as Heathrow Airport. It is also a place, home to an international business community that includes Microsoft and Google. Reconciling the complex and sometimes competing priorities at Victoria is not easy, there have been more than 20 schemes developed over the last 40 years.

think place worked with the Transport for London (TfL) Urban Design team, part of the Transport Strategy and Planning Group to set out TfL's vision for Victoria. We adopted a highly collaborative approach working with internal and external stakeholders to unlock this long-standing and challenging opportunity.

So many talented people had tried to resolve the problems at Victoria, and there had been so many studies for such a confined area, we doubted there would be any completely new ideas, so we looked at what had changed and how the process of engagement could be done more effectively. Practice principal, Garry Colligan took a desk at TfL, meeting with internal departments on a daily basis. he even did a front line shift in the bus station. This built knowledge and trust.

Major infrastructure and construction works had forced experimentation with temporary layouts,  lane closures and road diversions - a real-life test-bed for innovative approaches. We meticulously catalogued what had worked and what had not. Simultaneously emerging policy and work by the influential Roads Task Force was setting a new context. By combining a strategic approach and adopting a forensic-like methodology to stakeholder needs, we were able to shape a vision that balanced the many and sometimes conflicting needs of the area.

As a result the strategic vision was well received and has been signed-off for detailed engineering. It is already having a direct influence on key decisions for the area including the routing of the Inner Ring Road, bridge strengthening works, concept designs for ticket halls for the District and Circle Line and Crossrail 2 and private developers planning obligations.  

Case Study: Waterloo Station

We are currently developing concept designs with TfL for a new public square in front of Waterloo Station. This is the latest chapter of an involvement practice principal, Garry Colligan, had had with Waterloo for twenty five years.

This began in 1990, when Garry joined Nicholas Grimshaw and Partners having just completed his RIBA exams at the University of Bath. Garry worked on a number of design packages, before becoming one of four resident site architects responsible for implementation of the project. The completed building was awarded the Mies van der Rohe award for the best building in Europe in 1994.

Garry returned to work on Waterloo in 1998 as Grimshaw's Project Director of a masterplan for the domestic station and its environs. The station is the busiest in London and increasing passenger demand is putting pressure on all areas of the rail operation including the station concourse. The station is built on a viaduct, isolating it from its surroundings and blocking pedestrian movement around this part of London. Garry offered two innovative solutions: one of which was to build a new concourse at ground level, increasing capacity and integrating the station with the adjacent streets. Railtrack’s successor, Network Rail are revisiting these ideas today and looking to implement them in the foreseeable future.