The design of Bunhill 2 “celebrates the necessary.” The project team explored how a new language of civic industrial architecture could begin to define this new typology of heat networks, just as Joseph Bazalgette had revolutionised the design of the public water systems in the 19th century and Sir Giles Gilbert Scott celebrated the design of the utilitarian phone box in the 20th century.
This small, neglected but prominent site at a junction on City Road was full of disparate clutter, including the forlorn ventilation shaft of the former City Road Underground station, smothered in advertising hoardings and fly-postings, a shabby brick substation and left-over patches of space between. Signs, lamp posts, CCTV cameras etc milled around the site in a chaotic fashion and all was dwarfed by the surrounding towers. It also had many physical constraints including below ground voids, the need to maintain access to the shaft and sub-station, and proximity to adjacent dwellings.
Consulting extensively with the local community, Planners and local Councillors, Cullinan Studio’s approach was to organise the new elements with the existing features to create a well-composed assembly of prefabricated structures, clad in attractive materials and set in an enhanced landscape. Key moves were made to minimise the visual and environmental impact on adjacent residents and using principles of good urban design, the architecture was composed to echo existing building lines, strengthen street edges and redefine the street corner.