Portfolio Project Detail

Urban Lace Reed Strawn, JD Meyers, and Jason Bernal

When analyzing the cultural impact of a pandemic in London, one must consider the negative effects on social life at the individual and public realms. Within the Square Mile, the lack of pedestrian access to open spaces, low residential density, and singular-use planning leads to an eerily empty post-pandemic environment. The unwelcoming quality of the current city block can lead to the desolation of the community, and isolation of the individual. The proposed city block typology, which is adaptive in its uses, flexible within the surrounding environment, and inclusive for the diverse population, will promote exceedingly resilient communities and helps form a way of living in harmony with public space.

Over the course of the Covid-19 pandemic, the existing Building Scale largely failed to provide the following: open spaces that promote movement through the city, adequate outdoor accommodations for the retail and food service industry, a mixed-use typology that promotes social equity, and a healthy environment for individuals to retreat to.

The permeable, yet interconnected city block of The UrbanLace incorporates open spaces for leisure and mixed-uses as well as privacy at the individual scale. While public connectivity to the transformed city block provides open spaces to encourage healthy living, there is also a need for an inclusive design approach that considers social equity. Therefore, in order for the new city block to become a successful, translatable typology, it must consist of the following elements:

  • Permeable and connected spaces that promote healthy living
  • Mixed-uses that allow for adaptable and resilient occupancy
  • Affordable living units to foster inclusivity within the Square Mile
  • Privacy and security at the residential level
  • An emphasis of visual connections to the surrounding context

The UrbanLace provides a permeable city block with the integration of traversable open spaces through mixed-use developments. Pedestrian movement is emphasized at the ground level through the framework of paths that connect to surrounding context. The mixed-use city block also brings a consistent life to the neighborhood with a healthy level of density, including socially equitable housing. Elevated walkways connect the permeable forms, allowing the residents easy access to the various amenities and economic opportunities on site. Local residents also have access to outdoor terrace, creating a sense on intimacy within the community. The hierarchy of architecture is arranged to reveal views to key landmarks.

The resiliency of the City depends on an adaptive framework that replaces the traditionally rigid and uninviting city block. With its permeable and interconnected elements, The UrbanLace becomes a translatable typology that fosters inclusivity and well-being throughout the city of London.