In 2015, we joined forces with Architecture 00. Together, we enjoy collaborating in a shared environment where strategic, urban and social designers, architects, programmers and economists practice design beyond its traditional borders. 00 work with individuals, governments, corporations and communities to solve problems and anticipate change, and to design successful platforms and places. As a studio it aims to reach beyond the design of objects themselves to the social, economic and environmental systems behind them.

Hackney Central Masterplan Public Realm Strategy

As part of the draft Hackney Central and Surrounds Masterplan Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) produced by the London Borough in January 2017, Studio Weave were commissioned to work on the public realm strategy for a new masterplan for Hackney Central. Collaborating with lead-masterplanner Hawkins\Brown on the structure and content of the SPD, our focus was specifically on the redevelopment of the bus depot, the railway arches beneath the active Overground line and the surrounding streets, as well as developing the adjacent supermarket car park.

The core principle of the work was to support economic growth, place making and the needs of the local community by balancing physical improvement with social need. Our work aimed to capture people’s imagination, strengthen identity and foster inspiring places for all those who live and work in Hackney. Due to the proximity to Hackney’s emerging ‘Fashion District’, the proposals were also produced in the context of significant developer interest in a number of sites in this area .

In order to complement the feasibility studies conducted by Hawkins\Brown, our work focused on the distribution, arrangement and specification of retail and workspace occupation within existing sites, as well as at the lower levels of new-build properties.

Alongside this retail and workspace opportunity appraisal, we carefully considered the surrounding public realm and proposed a network of public squares to be connected via streets, arcades, yards and alleys – the scale and composition of which would be sensitive to the respective surroundings.

The role of the Hackney Central and Surrounds Masterplan is to facilitate the delivery of significant regeneration in and around the District Town Centre of Hackney Central. There are a number of key objectives for this area, which if achieved, will strengthen the role of the town centre and lead to the creation of both improved public realm and transport facilities. The objective of the Masterplan is to bring together the aspirations of a number of key policy documents and strategically illustrate ways in which individual sites can be refurbished or redeveloped to deliver significant regeneration.

Hackney Central is the civic and cultural hub of the Borough, with its main urban spine stretching along Mare Street. The civic town square is framed by Hackney Town Hall, the Hackney Empire theatre, the library, museum and Picturehouse cinema, and is a testament to the long-standing history and status of the District Town Centre. The concentrated node of cultural institutions is atypical, but forms the frequent and regular destinations for Hackney’s residents and visitors.

By contrast, the intimate scale of the Narrow Way – flanked by St John at Hackney Church and Churchyard, the Old Town Hall and the railway arches of Bohemia Place – is bursting with potential for improved retail, local business and enterprise. The area currently offers good convenience retail, although outlet retail and associated workspace is emerging, particularly around Morning Lane. This cluster of outlet retail and associated workspace has quickly risen to become one of Hackney’s biggest attractions, drawing visitors from across the city as well as foreign tourists.