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View: Grid List
Creativity Context Climate
Islington Council
London Borough of Islington
Alex Abbey
Ramboll, J&L Gibbons, Toby Paterson - Artist, Gleeds, Right of Light Consulting Surveyors

Bunhill 2 Energy Centre, the second phase of the Bunhill Heat and Power project, will allow Islington Council to extend its supply of cheaper, greener heat to local residents.

Bunhill 2 Energy Centre

Bunhill 2 is intended to be a demonstrator project to the other London Boroughs and EU cities seeking to make best use of their urban waste heat sources. It includes the capture of waste heat from an electricity sub-station and from the London Underground tube system via a heat exchange coil; the first project of its kind in the UK and one of the first in Europe.

The extension, funded by the Council and the EU, will involve working in partnership with UK Power Networks, the Greater London Authority and Transport for London to realise the benefits for Islington residents.

This phase, which connects to the original network completed in November 2012, brings in low carbon sources of heat to the residents of five communally heated residential blocks (454 dwellings). It is also seeking to supply an additional three new communally heated residential developments (a further 215 homes), a school, a sheltered housing block, a community centre and a nursery.

The scheme also has the possibility to connect to further private and council developments along the network route as they are built. Bunhill 2 received Planning Permission in July 2015.


Bunhill 2 is part of the borough-wide Decentralised Energy Programme to find practical and innovative solutions to tackle fuel poverty and carbon emissions.

The Bunhill Energy Project aims to help London develop a workable and replicable vision for how to evolve into a truly smart city. It will provide an insight into how district heating systems can actively contribute to the development of the future smart energy infrastructure that is required to maximise energy efficiency at a district and, ultimately, a city level.

Through diversified energy generation the network will contribute to the overall resilience of the city's existing energy networks.

Design and Access Statement cover - inspired by a 1920s London Underground poster.

The existing site


A few minutes walk from our studio, the site lies on a prominent, but somewhat neglected junction to City Road; a major arterial road in and out of the City of London.

This intersection of three roads has become non-descript with the forlorn remains of a former tube station (opened in 1901, closed in 1922 and demolished in 1960), its ventilation shaft covered in advertising and fly-posters, and the utilitarian brick building for the UK Power Network sub-station. The shaft and sub-station are dwarfed by the adjacent 1960s, 18 storey tower block of Kestrel House and a number of surrounding towers - ranging from 36 to 42 storeys - currently under construction.

The new Energy Centre will be three storeys, matching the height of the existing shaft, rising to four storeys to turn the corner of Moreland Street and Central Street.

The Bunhill 2 site is next to the intersection of three roads.


The Energy Centre has been designed as an assembly of prefabricated plant equipment, screened by a well-composed architectural cladding that will improve the character of this street corner site. 

Collaborating with the artist Toby Paterson, a simple palette of high quality materials have been carefully selected to provide colour and texture to the street-scape. For the ground storey of the energy centre we have selected black glazed brick, vitreous enamel steel panels in a lustrous dark grey colour and cast aluminium art relief panels, inset with small accents of colour. The art panels, that take their inspiration from the community, will provide an intriguing frieze that will engage the passer-by.

As well as providing a robust base, resistant to graffiti and knocks and scratches, the glazed brick and enamel resonate with the site's transport heritage, being materials commonly found on London Underground stations and platforms. 

Above this will be a composition of copper panels and, in certain areas copper mesh, both treated to remain a red/brown oxidised copper colour. 

Detail of the proposed perforated copper panels.

The plant equipment behind the cladding requires varying degrees of ventilation so a perforation pattern has been determined that ebbs and flows in response, providing variation and transparency to the facade. We have also created a pattern on the panels evoking a sense of the network of pipes below ground, whether heating or underground tube lines. This will move from small to large scale, as it rises up the building.

The charcoal shades, rich copper oranges, reds and browns of the cladding, and black glazed brick will provide a contrasting backdrop to highlight new vibrant plants in the proposed raised beds on City Road.