One of the UK’s leading architects believes Croydon needs to recapture the spirit of the 1960s to move away from its image as a “concrete jungle”.
Ken Shuttleworth, whose practice Make has drawn up plans for an iconic 55-storey residential tower in Cherry Orchard Road, in partnership with Menta, was speaking at the launch of the two-week New Croydon Architecture & Design Exhibition in the Sun Lounge at Fairfield Halls on Monday, June 25th.
The exhibition, part of the London Festival of Architecture, brings the architects and developers who are shaping the future look of Croydon under one roof, providing an opportunity to debate the past, present and future built environment of the town.
Mr Shuttleworth said: “It is fantastic to be able to celebrate some of the highlights that are going to take Croydon forward in the next generation. We have had visions in the past that have been insane but this all looks very do-able now.
“After the City and Docklands, Croydon is the third biggest business district for London – this is the next big opportunity and the place to be.
“Croydon has always had this negative concrete jungle image but the council is now actively trying to get rid of that by encouraging high quality designers, high quality architects into the environment and working around the town.
“What happened here in the 1960s was about an incredible bold vision but we need more emphasis on the public realm this time. However, we need to capture that spirit of the 1960s to make Croydon a better place.
“Some of the best minds in the country and major developers from around the world are focussed on enhancing the reputation of Croydon.”
All of the prestige developments, which are set to transform the south London town over the next decade are showcasing their visions at the event.
Exhibitors are Abstract Securities, Allies and Morrison, Andrew Lett Architects, Berkeley, BFLS, CCURV, CZWG, Develop Croydon, East, EPR Architects, Flora Associates, Geraghty Taylor, Guildhouse-Rosepride LLP, Hawkins Brown, Howard: Fairbairn: MDR Associates, MHK, Farrells, Hammerson, Leslie Jones Architecture, London Borough of Croydon, London Metropolitan University, Make, Manchester School of Architecture, Menta, Mott MacDonald, Rolfe Judd, RTKL, Stanhope Schroders and Westfield.
John Burton, director of development of Westfield, said: “We are very grateful for this opportunity to be here and to sponsor this event.
“When I look around at what is at this exhibition I can see that design and architecture is truly winning out against over what were historically very developer-led approaches to masterplanning, to design and urban realm.
“I am glad to see that there is absolute quality here, the vision is here. Everyone is interested in Croydon and they regard this as the next piece of London’s opportunity.”
Councillor Jason Perry, Croydon Council cabinet member for planning, transport and sustainability, added: “Croydon may not be the first place that springs to mind when considering architectural quality.
“However, Croydon does possess a large number of architectural styles reflecting many different periods of our historic growth from the country seats of the Archbishops of Canterbury, through to a prosperous Surrey market town into the 1960s development that make Croydon what it is today.
“This rich distinctiveness provides a foundation for a new generation of architecture and we are proud to have some of the best British architects working in Croydon and we are fortunate that the developers in Croydon are investing in such good design.”
The exhibition is open from 11am to 6pm Monday to Friday, with extended hours when there is a performance at Fairfield Halls.
Three special events have also been arranged during the fortnight:
• On Friday, June 29 (12.30pm), at an event titled Croydon – Public City, architecture students from London Metropolitan University, the University of Creative Arts in Canterbury and Manchester School of Architecture, who have been studying Croydon, will make proposals for en enhanced public realm with their tutors from East, FAT and Hawkins Brown plus members of Croydon Council’s placemaking team. Admission is free.
• On Monday, July 2 (5.30pm), an event entitled Acoustic Excellence in Concert Halls, sponsored by Mott MacDonald and BFLS, will debate the relationship between sound quality and architecture and will demonstrate why Fairfield Halls has a reputation for some of the finest acoustics in Europe. Admission is free.
• On Tuesday, July 3 (5.30pm), Croydon Back to the Future 2 is a walking tour of the Town Centre, organised by Constructing Excellence Croydon Club in conjunction with Develop Croydon. Starting at Fairfield Halls, it will take in some 1960s and 1970s architectural delights before finishing at the Glamorgan pub in Croydon’s historic Old Town. Tickets cost £5 including the walk and a barbecue.
Spaces for all three events are limited and tickets can be booked at www.newcroydonarchitecture.co.uk