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.

Moor House

We were asked by the City of London Corporation to develop a design for a substantial piece of reclaimed public space that would be created by a scheme to alter and realign the junction of London Wall and Moorgate.

The objectives of the design are to create a coherent urban space by dividing up the existing street and grassy knoll in favour of a web of spaces. The character of these spaces is more green and calm under the tree to the east, which is already a natural holding spot, and less dense to allow the busy flow of pedestrians to the west.

Our proposal is akin to a piece of embroidery that reveals gestures or musings emanating in five branches from the existing old oak tree. Incorporating raised lawns and two additional oak trees, the five branches begin at the base of the existing oak, move around the lawns and reach out towards crossings, building entrances, signposts, and the bus. The pattern has also been arranged to take into account the locations of the numerous service covers, and maintain the integrity of the existing drainage system.

The embroidered surface brings the space together, creates a strong visual and tactile identity in all seasons, without interrupting the busy flow of pedestrians through the site. Expressed with metal studs embedded into the existing stone paving, the pattern is able to incorporate other elements such as the raised lawns and furniture, and retain the existing York stone.

We have proposed that the public space at Moor House is a piece of embroidery that expresses the secret longings of the old oak tree in the centre of the space.

The tree used to stand isolated in the middle of a roundabout, but with the rationalising of the junction, it now finds itself with new neighbours as part of a large public space.

Now the tree wants to reach out to communicate with its surroundings: to cradle the lawns, to tickle the bus stop, and introduce itself to the phone boxes. It reveals these desires in the language of embroidery.