New London Architecture

‘Digital Service Points’: shortlisted design teams

Tuesday 29 June 2021

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Today the City of London’s Corporation in collaboration with the New London Architecture, the City of London Police and Bloomberg Associates have announced Unknown Works as the winners of the ‘Digital Service Points’ competition. 
 
Their winning concept, The London Stones, includes space for digital information screens, essential communication technology and for the storage of life-saving emergency equipment. It can also serve as a dedicated hub for on-beat City of London Police officers and as an unfolding events space for community engagement and events.
 
The winning design incorporates many innovative sustainability strategies, in line with the City Corporation’s ambitious Climate Action Strategy, including the use of sustainable construction material (predominantly stone and recycled steel), natural lighting and passive ventilation, solar panels and power generation, and a unique approach to ecology.
 
The ‘Digital Service Points’ competition was born out of a public and stakeholder engagement exercise looking at security in the Square Mile, including police visibility and contact, as part of the Secure City Programme. Unknown Works’ design overcame strong competition from an impressive selection, which included: CAN, Harry Dobbs Studio, McCloy + Muchemwa, ScottWhitbyStudio and tp bennett. Find out more about the shortlisted entries’ proposals and read what they said about the competition below. 

Image below: The London Stones by Unknown Works

CAN with CAKE Industries

‘The challenge was to design something secure but approachable, multi-purpose yet compact, digital yet low impact. It also needed to be replicable for the multiple sites yet respond to the specific needs of each site. Our proposal riffs on the formal qualities of the original police box (gridded form/ziggurat roof/ clerestory windows) and adds a layer of civic use and public information whilst providing the essential services for the police force for its emergency response and outreach work. Its materials and user interaction reflect the modern offices of the square mile, with its ornamental details speaking to the area's past, allowing it to sit comfortably amongst both the new and historic. The flexibility of both use (via the changeable panels) and size (via the repeating grid structure), allow it to respond to physical site constraints and specific user needs. Our proposal is an unexpected and idiosyncratic piece of interactive public realm that, much like the iconic design it takes its cues from, would have hopefully found its own place in the consciousness of Londoners.’

Image below: CAN 
CAN with CAKE Industries

Harry Dobbs Studio with Eckersley O’ Callaghan, STBY and Atelier Ten

The City's Smart Alcove reinterprets the qualities of urban alcoves found within the City’s Street heritage as a new contemporary street furniture typology. It provides a smart public realm hub designed for agile deployment and the flexible provision of supportive on-street interactions with local police officers, an engaging portal to an upgraded ecosystem of city services and localised information, and when unoccupied, a public realm platform for digital public art. The design has been evolved to comfortably sit alongside London’s heritage of world class urban furnishings and confidently express The City’s durable status as one of the safest world class locations to work, visit & live in.’

Image below: Harry Dobbs Studio
Harry Dobbs Studio with Eckersley O’ Callaghan, STBY and Atelier Ten

McCloy + Muchemwa with Arup, Oliver Wilton, and Victoria Philpott Gardens

‘The design for the Dynamic Duo Digital Service Point (DSP) is guided by key principles: putting low whole-life carbon and public generosity at its heart. The event and engagement aspects of the brief are conceptualised as a ‘place’ rather than a ‘thing’, where the focus is on external space created by separating the police box into two elements and peeling the walls into a welcoming external shelter. In the City of London, we saw police officers on the beat in pairs, this was inspiring as a metaphor; the two supporting each other to create a more effective unit. 

We studied buildings in the Square Mile and saw the potential natural stone has for longevity, civic presence, and end-of-life sustainability. With our collaborators we appraised the benefits of using 100% post-tensioned Portland limestone; without mortars, membranes, glues or fixings as both facade and structure; with the resultant vaulted forms celebrating structural efficiency and innovation. Elevated gardens round-off the environmental + ecological approach – Beautifully enhancing, biodiversity, habitat and improving air quality. Through all aspects the design celebrates the public service and iconography of the City of London Police from its foundation almost 200 years ago and for the future to come.’

Image below: McCloy + Muchemwa
McCloy + Muchemwa with Arup, Oliver Wilton, and Victoria Philpott Gardens

ScottWhitbyStudio with Eckersley O’Callaghan, Max Fordham, TU Delft, Millimetre and PT Projects

A State of Super Cooled Equilibrium, our Digital Service Point, proposes a new vision for the future, not just for the City of London Police but for the City of London itself, embracing and responding to the Climate Emergency we have creating a project that showcases how architecture can be both low in embodied carbon but also embrace the circular economy. 
 
The project creates a new structure that is 100% made from recycled glass sourced from within the square mile. Inspired by the way that light passes through an Aalto Vase, the DSP’s form (and Plan) is digitally crafted out of the subtly changing boundaries that the City Police have kept safe from their foundation in 1832 to the present day. The DSP’s form speaks not only to the City’s past but also to its future and will be wholly recyclable in the future.’

Image below: ScottWhitbyStudio
ScottWhitbyStudio with Eckersley O’Callaghan, Max Fordham, TU Delft, Millimetre and PT Projects

tp bennett with Sam Clarke, Mariachiara Dal Pozzo, Chris Webb

‘The Halos are the guardians of the city. Together their role is to stand out as a symbol of protection. A uniquely identifiable object that in time will seamlessly blend into the cityscape. Like classic designs before them, the form will become synonymous with all things British. 
 
A police officer on duty needs to be alert and prepared, their ‘head is on a swivel’ to be aware of their surroundings. In the same way, the police box faces all sides. The form is circular to allow positioning in a variety of places and orientations, encouraging pedestrian flow around it and preventing competition with the surrounding building streetscape. 
 
The curved top prevents climbing, and the circular plan means that there are no corners to hide behind. The halo light on top casts a glow onto the ground below and lights up the hub as a beacon. Police boxes traditionally have a signal light on top and whilst modern methods of signalling have changed, the light has moved into the public sphere. A signal of safety for the public. 
 
The colours are instantly recognisable, and the details give a subtle reminder of where you are. The red and white checkers along with the gold trims identify this as the City of London’

Image below: tp bennett
tp bennett with Sam Clarke, Mariachiara Dal Pozzo, Chris Webb

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